Foundations of Early Literacy Assessment (FELA)

Age Range: 4 to 11
2016

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Foundations of Early Literacy Assessment (FELA)

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Roslyn Neilson Australian author

The FELA is an individual test that assesses two of the foundational skills that enable young students to benefit from early literacy teaching: phonological awareness and grasp of the alphabetic principle. The FELA is designed to be used with students who speak English as an additional language or dialect, as well as those whose first language is English.

The FELA may be administered to students just before they start formal schooling, and it remains relevant throughout Early Primary School. It takes up to 30 minutes to administer. FELA scores are interpreted in terms of mastery of the necessary underlying skills at appropriate grades, and suggestions are provided for support.

The FELA is an assessment tool that distils the author’s experience of 3 decades of supporting Australian students, speech-language pathologists and teachers in the development of phonemic awareness and early literacy.

What’s new about the FELA?

Designed to be used with students who speak English as an additional language or dialect, as well as speakers of Standard Australian English.

  • Developed in close cooperation with the Northern Territory Department of Education, with the support of linguists who are specialists in Indigenous First Languages
  • Phoneme approximations’ are noted but not scored as errors in phonemic awareness - they are treated as phoneme categorisations that do not yet correspond to the conventions of Standard Australian English

Simple, criterion-referenced focus on those phonemic and alphabetic skills - and only those skills - that are directly relevant as foundations for early literacy progress

  • Teachers can gain insight into whether students have the underlying skills that are needed to support phonics teaching: phonemic awareness and grasp of the alphabetic principle
  • No time is spent on assessing phonological skills that may be mere correlates of literacy development, or that may emerge as the result of literacy development

Age range: From preschool, just before school entry, through to Early Primary

  • This range means that the FELA can be used as a school entry screener, and student progress over the next few years can be charted on the same instrument

The FELA is distributed on a USB that contains the manual, the stimulus presentation, the administration script, scoresheets for re-printing, and an excellent quality demonstration video. A hard copy of the manual is printed for the convenience of FELA users.

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