Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Happy teachers and happy students!

Acorn Integrated Nursery & Primary School, Carrickfergus

Everything teachers need in one place

The Renaissance Star Reading assessment provides us with the evidence we need to identify reading progress. Each child is given a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): a reading-ability range comparative to their actual reading age. The ZPD is an easy, at-a-glance way for teachers to see how pupils have improved over the course of the academic year. And because all the growth information for every child is all in the same place – on our school’s hosted site – it’s easy for teachers to see their pupils’ overall development. The data lets them see which classes or groups of children are carrying out quizzes and assessments, and view their reading growth. Teachers can access the site on any computer with internet access, at any time.

The assessment process

The Star Reading assessment is computer-adaptive which means that the questions that each child is given are based on their previously correct or incorrect answers. Our teachers find this particularly useful if the difficulty of work given to a child is ever challenged – by a parent, for example. Star Reading gives us evidence to support our reasoning for the work we assign.

With Star Reading, we can carry out as many assessments as we need throughout the course of the academic year – we aren’t charged for how many we undertake. We prefer to carry out at least three assessments every year to allow us to identify each pupil’s baseline level from September and support them appropriately for the whole school year. As we carry out more assessments over the year, and track each child’s growth, we can measure how effective our support has been. Star Reading gives us a whole-year-round solution to reading assessment and support.

Encouraging reluctant readers

Pupils who were reluctant to read before show much greater enthusiasm and improvement with their reading when we introduce them to Accelerated Reader. Some have increased their reading age by over a month from September to January! All pupils who get 80% and above in their quizzes get a star with their name on it and are entered into a random prize draw – this means that all types of readers can be recognised, not just the ones who read the most or the longest books.

That being said, we have set up a millionaires’ club for pupils who have read over a million words. This is particularly useful for some children who might be otherwise uninterested in reading for pleasure, as we can identify these children early on and offer more incentives for them to read more.

The summer holiday slump

One thing we were very keen on addressing was the reading dip over the summer holiday break. Fortunately, our local libraries also implement Accelerated Reader and therefore children and parents are encouraged to keep reading throughout the summer and carry out AR quizzes at their local library. At the end of the academic year, we send a report of each pupil’s reading progress and ability to their parents and encourage them to use their library card over the summer – allowing them to practice their reading all year round.

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