Review by John Dabell – Star Assessments

By Sophie Burrows

Star Assessments are computer-adaptive assessments for reading and maths, and are used by almost 6,000 schools across the UK and Ireland. John Dabell, a teacher for over 25 years and previous Ofsted inspector, reviews Star Assessments on behalf of Teach Secondary.

Read the full review below:

At a glance:

  • Accessible, computer-adaptive assessments for reading and maths
  • Instant differentiation with a personalised learning plan for every pupil
  • Compare each student on the same scale and know if they are making expected progress
  • Strong and reliable information; no marking, with instant results

Regardless of changes under Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework, data is not about to lose its value – schools will always need to know how to identify where students are in their studies. The beating heart of a school day might be the curriculum but teaching and learning are fuelled by accurate assessment and will always be essential.

So, who can help us assess, identify, track progress and work out whether or not our children are meeting age-related expectations? Renaissance Learning has stepped up to the plate with its Star Assessments, ensuring that assessment is informative, powerful, but not onerous.

Star Assessments are basically short, painless and quickly administered assessments that adapt to each student’s abilities and measure their progress and attainment. For maths, you get a test of 24 items, testing 50 skill areas in ten domains; and for English you get a test of 34 items, testing 43 skill areas in four domains. It’s possible to screen an entire class in around 20 minutes and get their results instantly on completion.

The data analysis you get via a smart teacher dashboard is wide-ranging and includes norm referenced standardised score, percentile rank and scaled score. The granular-level information produced enables you to plan intelligent interventions and get vulnerable students on track, based on what they know and don’t know – and more importantly, what they partly know.

The assessments are cleverly configured to generate crystal clear, robust reports, identifying zones of proximal development. Progress can also be compared to all students across the UK using a fantastic growth and achievement report. Easy-to digest parents’ reports are also available, so that relevant data is shared for supporting student success.

The advanced reporting capabilities of Star Assessments are second to none and allow teachers to view and present key information at an individual, class or whole school level. The reports can be filtered by characteristics such as SEN, EAL, Free School Meals and Pupil Premium, helping you to ensure that all pupils are making progress and plan next steps in learning for groups and individuals.

Star Assessments can help make sure that the curriculum is doing what it is supposed to be doing – and are unrivalled for quality, reliability and penetration.


✓ Reliably and objectively identifies pupils in need

✓ Outstanding deep dive data analysis to show pupil progress

✓ Powerful reporting features for in-depth insights

✓ Massively reduces workload

✓ Designed thoughtfully to shape future learning

John Dabell thinks you should upgrade if:

“You are looking to spend more time teaching and less time marking, so you can help students achieve high standards and enable everyone to experience success.”

Learn more about Star Assessments

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