Using granular data to drive progress and attainment
By Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager
Over the past few weeks I’ve been driving around the UK visiting schools who use Accelerated Reader and have been talking to them about how they are using data that’s derived from the Star tests…and as always, it’s got me thinking. Star reports are a bit like going on a car journey, and here’s why…
Most of the time Star tests are simply used to obtain the ZPDs for reading ages and ranges, but when we dig a little deeper the benefits of the reporting tools become apparent – which opens a whole new world when it comes to assessment and student progress.
Take the Diagnostic Report for example. I’ve started to introduce this as the ‘oil’ for the Star engine. What we learn from the diagnostic report can help us to identify if the engine has what it needs to keep ticking over – including whether a child has had the right amount of reading practice before taking a Star test.
Then we come to the Screening Report. This provides excellent fuel for motivating both teacher and student. Every time a child sits a Star test the screening report is available and is a powerful tool for guiding feedback discussions with a child. Over the course of a year you can share the developmental progress with the child (where appropriate) and as a teacher use it to identify those who might need intervention or with a little additional support be able to move from being a ‘blue’ to a ‘green’ in the reporting.
Next we have the Growth Report, which plots the progress a child is making in their own developmental journey. Now, it’s not a Formula 1 race by any means, but each child needs to be making progress in line with their own potential, which can be assessed by simply comparing the results of two Star tests.
We also need to ensure we’re not comparing the progress of a Formula 1 car with a road car…which is where the SGPs (Student Growth Percentiles) in the reading dashboard give you valuable insight into how children are performing against other children of similar age and ability around the country – not just in your own school. The SGP is a reliable and valid measurement for benchmarking progress against the national average.
Ultimately, with Star reports and delving into the data, you have access to independently verified information which not only tells you if a child is making good progress… as a teacher it gives you the knowledge and confidence to take action accordingly, whether that’s moving a child ‘up a gear’ or jumping in the passenger seat with them to provide extra support when they need it.
Until the end of the summer term I’ll be continuing my travels around the UK, so if you’re interested in driving the use of data forward in your school – please feel free to drop me a line @MargaretCAllen, I’d love to come on a Star journey with you.In the meantime, if you want to learn more about using Star Reports to support whole school assessment, we’re releasing a series of handy interactive guides – you can access Part 1: – Getting to Grips with the Fundamentals here.
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.