Focus on: Literacy Assessment
By Ruth Atkinson
The role of technology in supporting literacy analysis
Alongside reading, literacy assessment is arguably one of the most challenging to objectively manage in schools. Teacher judgement naturally plays a very prominent role in conducting literacy analysis, to determine the rate of progress that a pupil has made and equally importantly, is expected to make in the future.
Given the rise of accountability in schools and the demand for increasingly detailed reporting on pupil progress, the issue of objectivity and consistency comes to the fore. As a consequence, teachers are put under immense scrutiny to justify their judgements and are commonly asked to provide evidence which supports the literacy assessment that has been made.
In a bid to underpin teacher judgements on literacy analysis with a greater level of objectivity, primary schools up and down the country are starting to adopt external and fully validated literacy assessment solutions. While paper-based literacy analysis tools are available, those which are online and computer-adaptive are proving to deliver time and cost saving benefits to schools.
With an online and computer adaptive literacy assessment programme, teachers don’t need to worry about workload being increased. For example, Star Literacy tests are completed in approximately 20 minutes at a computer or tablet, with the results available almost immediately. Crucially for the teacher, this means no marking is required while for the pupil, feedback can be discussed without any delay.
While the use of technology to support literacy analysis delivers tangible time benefits over paper-based methods, the true value of systems like Star Literacy comes in the level of objective insight which can be gained. Using Star for literacy assessment and the reports which can be produced from the regular test data which has been gathered, teachers are able to provide evidence which justifies and supports their own judgement – with the two going hand-in-hand to provide a holistic view of pupil progress.