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Leading article: A lesson in unintended consequences for Michael Gove

Sunday 30 October 2011 23:49 GMT
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Mip glimp is on the zort. Confused? You should be. The only people familiar with these words are the six-year-olds who sat a pilot of the compulsory reading test to be introduced in all schools from next year.

The test, which included 20 real and 20 made-up words (such as those above), is designed to test children's phonics skills and spot slow readers. Sounds reasonable. The trouble is that some literacy experts and teachers say the pilots caused problems for their brightest pupils. Because the cleverest can tell that the words are not quite right, they think they are reading them wrongly, and are then classified as struggling.

The aim to identify slow readers early is laudable. But worries at the unintended consequences should prompt the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, at the very least to review its content.

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