Reading Assessments – The Importance of Reading

Reading is a skill for life. It helps a child succeed throughout their school life by increasing their vocabulary and helping them absorb imaginative content and for many, it creates a joy of reading that lasts a lifetime.

But for such an important and valuable skill, many teachers still find reading one of the most difficult skills to accurately assess, with no definitive answers or explanations as to why some children struggle with their reading while others thrive.

We have a range of reading assessment tools that not only allow teachers to understand a particular child’s ability but also pinpoint exactly where they may be struggling in their reading or actually thriving.


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Reading Assessment Trends

The trend in recent years, encouraged by the Department for Education (DfE) in England, has been to test primary reading through phonics. This is the practice where children are encouraged to sound out words, as opposed to recognising a word as a whole and reading it for the meaning.

As an approach to reading testing, phonics has its critics. It’s often not suitable for those children who may already have already gained some reading ability when they start school, and it is difficult to conclude whether a child appreciates the actual meaning of that word or just understands the pronunciation of it. And while it’s vital that to understand each child’s reading ability and allow for extra assistance or natural reading progression, constant testing can often detract from the feeling of reading for pleasure for many.

A teenager sat in a school library reading a book - his school utilise the Renaissance Learning reading assessments.


A Flexible and Powerful Reading Assessment Tool

Star Reading is a computer-adaptive reading assessment system that provides teachers with a powerful and insightful diagnostic tool.  Our assessments are fun to complete on computers or tablets, allowing pupils to be tested in a low stake environment without the fear of the more traditional approaches to reading testing. And being computer-based, reports are automatically generated highlighting each student’s ability and where they are in their literacy and reading progression, saving valuable time and freeing teachers from a myriad of tick sheets, highlighted objectives or best-fit rubrics.


Reliable and Robust Reading Assessment Data

Star Reading provides all testing data needs in one, single assessment, generating precise reports on screening, benchmarking, child growth and progress monitoring to inform and improve planning.

We’re proud that Renaissance Star Assessments data played a key role in researching learning loss as a result of COVID-19, alongside the DfE and the Education Policy Institute.


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Learn more About our Reading Assessment Tool

To learn more about the research so far, and what this means for policy-makers and teachers, read our new blog –

Researching learning loss: findings from the second stage.


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