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The standardised Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement is the worldwide name for what has been commonly known in New Zealand as the Six year net. The creator, New Zealander Marie Clay, envisaged this assessment being best used after one year of school instruction (generally age six in New Zealand) to determine a student’s grasp of basic reading and writing concepts and skills, and to pinpoint any gaps in understanding.
When do you use it?
Administered one-on-one, this observational test, or set of tasks, is designed to check an individual’s basic reading and writing concepts so that early intervention can be put in place if necessary – often, but not exclusively, Reading recovery.
What does it give you?
Trained properly, the teacher who administers the test will gain detailed knowledge about the approaches a student takes towards unlocking the code of reading, something that is particularly beneficial in cases where incorrect assumptions or practices may have developed. This knowledge is also a helpful starting point for discussing progress with family and whānau.
Points to consider
The one-on-one administration of the test takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. The person who administers the test must be properly trained and there is a cost for the initial materials used.
An overview of the components
The Observation survey of early literacy achievement includes six assessment tasks:
- Concepts about print to discover what the student understands about the way spoken language is represented in print.
- Letter identification to find out which alphabetic symbols the student recognises.
- Word reading to indicate how well the student is accumulating a reading vocabulary of frequently used words.
- Writing vocabulary to determine if the student is building a personal resource of known words that can be written.
- Hearing and recording sounds in words to assess phonemic awareness and spelling knowledge through hearing and recording sounds in English spelling.
- Running records to provide evidence of how well the student is learning to use knowledge of letters, sounds, and words to understand the messages in text.
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