Essential Reading for Whole School Assessment…
By Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager
Having spent much of the last year visiting schools and spending time both in the classroom and with school leaders, a common theme began to emerge around the use of Star Assessments. While Star is widely used to support the Accelerated Reader programme, when I explained that it can actually play a much wider role in whole school assessment… there was a huge ‘Eureka’ moment for many…
For those who had spent a lot of time developing ‘home grown’ methods, the news that Star could provide accurate individual and school-wide reports as a by-product of the Accelerated Reader activity, was a revelation. And for those who had allocated precious school funds to additional third party systems, it presented the opportunity to review budgets and introduce cost savings (I mean, why pay for something twice?).
But beyond the operational practicalities of using Star for whole school assessment, the real benefit comes in the objectivity, validity and reliability of the tests – and the detailed and accurate reporting that is possible because of this.
The powerful benefits of using Star Assessments
As you already know, you get your reading ages and ZPD book levels from Star, but there is so much more. If we delve deeper into the reporting capability of Star, there is a whole world of insight to be gained by analysing data by individual, cohorts, characteristics and even whole school.
Now, I feel like we owe you a little bit of an apology: because if you don’t know the full capabilities of Star Assessments, how are you expected to exploit its potential? In a bid to remedy this, we’re working on a five-part series: ‘The Essential Guide to Star Assessments’ – with the first part ‘Getting to Grips with the Fundamentals’, now available. This online interactive PDF has easily to digest content and shows you how to use four key reports to effectively support whole school assessment.
And if you’re not an Accelerated Reader customer, the even better news is that Star Assessments are available as a standalone whole school assessment programme. This means you can also benefit from assessments which are built specifically to the New National Curriculum and a computer adaptive test which takes just 20 minutes to administer. To learn more, access ‘Getting to Grips with the Fundamentals’ now.
As always, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to tweet me @MargaretCAllen.
Strategic Education Manager
Margaret Allen is Strategic Education Manager for Primary schools at Renaissance Learning. She uses practical experience from her time teaching in primary classrooms to help teachers across the UK to get the most out of Accelerated Reader.