Sunday, March 24, 2013

Providing resources to fellow teachers looking to better their teaching,is a responsibility that educators must undertake in order to continue the quest for learning.  The article below provided a new insight into an assessment practice that I have participated in for 9 years.  If your school district uses AIMSweb or something similar, and is using Phonological Segmentation Fluency (PSF), this is a good article to inform your thinking.  The authors performed research and found that students who meet the PSF benchmarks may still have deficits in phonemic awareness.  Other more in depth phonemic awareness practices provide stronger correlations between reaching proficiency and solid literacy skills.

Kilpatrick, D. A. (2012), Phonological Segmentation Assessment is Not Enough: A comparison of Three Phonological Awareness Tests With First and Second Graders. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 27(2), 150-165

Although there has been much research on phonological awareness and reading, the research is limited on the different choices and interpretation of the phonological awareness tests available. This study examined the relationship between decoding both real and pseudo words and three phonological awareness tests. These tests include segmentation, blending, and manipulation. The tests were given to an unselected population of first grade and second grade students. Segmentation, the more popular test stemming from a body of best practice research, was found to have the weakest correlation with reading. Despite its popularity in educational settings, phonological segmentation may be less useful than phonological manipulation or blending in assessing phonological awareness and the impact it has on reading at these grade levels.


  1. In the past our school district assess phoneme segmentation using Dibels. We did not assess phoneme segmentation school year,although kindergarten still does. We felt that segmenting confused many of our student because they were told to blend. In doing less assessment on phoneme segmentation, I have found that my at risk readers are decoding words much more smoothly this year. (perhaps just a good year??) What are your personal feeling on phoneme segmentation assessment for first graders. I am always interested in knowing what works in other classrooms.

  2. According to my research, kids should be able to do word work including segmentation, deletions, manipulation, onset, rhyme, and blending. Explicit teaching and mastery in each of these areas will assure kids have better chance of developing strong reading skills. Segmentation is just one area to focus in on. One study's research showed that it isn't the best to assess as the results don't cast the intervention nets wide enough to include all kids who need to develop PA. I find it a good place to start and then I look more in depth at other assessments to find the kids that need more in depth PA instruction. We do use it in 1st grade in the fall of the year. By this time, I have 3 PA assessments and know which kids have it and which ones need more word work. For kids who are still struggling in 2-4th grade, I have been using the CELF to see if and where they have deficits in PA.

    1. I am just curious what the CELF is you described you used with your 2-4th graders? We assess (at 4th grade standards) our students 3 times a year using DIBELS to measure fluency. We are always wondering how true of a reflection these scores are and if so much chould be weighted on them? It seems like a lot of our decisions are made based on these scores (Title support, Interventions,guided reading groups, etc)with a combination of MAPS and class performance,etc. Just curious what the CELF method was and if there are any other ideas out there when looking at PA in older grades?

    2. 1. The CELF is an assessment that our speech/language pathologists use. Years ago, I had a chance to see it and asked if I could use it informally for phonemic awareness testing. They let me have a copy. I can get you a copy to look at if you are interested. It covers all the word work of phonemic awareness, not just segmentation. I teach the same skills from the test to my younger students during group time. I don't use it with all my students as it is labor intensive. I have found AIMSweb quick and quite accurate. I have studied AIMSweb type data for 9 years now and have found it very accurate. It has an 80% comprehension correlation as well. There are a few kids who fall outside of the norm being fluent with little comprehension. The same is true for the ones who are less fluent but have well developed comprehension skills