Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

The Complete Literacy Solution across Hales Valley Trust

Hales Valley Trust, Dudley

Hales Valley Trust, situated in Dudley, has produced unprecedented product usage statistics throughout one of the most challenging years in education due to school part-closures due to COVID-19. We contacted the Director of School Improvement for the Trust, Rebecca Cox, who explains how the Trust has ensured consistent and strong reading practice across all schools both in and out of school.

Rebecca writes:

Before Renaissance solutions, our assessment strategy consisted of a narrow paper-based grid assessment. Over time we realised this was telling us coverage and highlights but nothing beyond that. We continued with paper-based tests for a while after that, and they gave us a QLA, but it wasn’t too much depth, and I’ve always from afar looked at Accelerated Reader (AR) from a secondary perspective. I looked into it for our primary school, with Lutley Primary School being the first to implement Renaissance solutions. That evolved into being used in more schools. Our previous grid-based assessment wasn’t comprehensive enough. That wasn’t giving us the individual learning domains of a child as it was too broad.

“Star Reading gives us the diagnostic reports to support reading. I personally value the data that Star Reading offers in the diagnostic information.”

As Director for School Improvement, overseeing five schools, Star Reading data highlights commonalities. It tells me what domains pupils are struggling with and what teachers need to provide support with. The data from Star Reading has enabled us to reflect on whether the teaching of reading is as good as it can be. It helps us ask questions around what we, as teachers, can do better with reading. Star Reading gives us the diagnostic reports to support reading. I personally value the data that Star Reading offers in the diagnostic information.

From last year I took headship of Priory Primary School. So, I’ve seen Star Reading work from school and Trust-level. My colleague carried out learning sessions around the skills provided in the Star Reading Planning Reports. The Focus and Suggested Skills are instrumental. In previous schools, we weren’t sure if we were nurturing children with a real love of reading. We had no way to identify reading comprehension and understanding of texts. With Star Reading’s Learning Progressions, these skills are broken down into different reading domains and recommended for the specific student.

“With myON, we can see that children are reading lots of books about animals, so now we know they enjoy a specific topic, we can hone in on that and build on that.”

With myON, we can see that children are reading lots of books about animals, so now we know they enjoy a specific topic, we can hone in on that and build on that. A lot of our parents struggle to provide reading materials for their children at home. Children now love reading. We’ve since installed two brand new libraries; students can go in and pick books that match their unique ZPD range before they would books that were too easy or too hard. They love doing the quizzing, and they love testing their knowledge. They love looking in a book and seeing points of improvement and development—a school like a priory a 3 form entry school has given us extensive access to books. We can now provide all range of texts to children in the library, which helped their self-esteem.

myON has been a revelation by giving students access to texts they wouldn’t have in their own homes. The parallel is the ATF didn’t have diagnostic information to plug gaps they didn’t know about. We were checking words read and not really investigating further than that. It helps the teacher to identify what they need to teach in reading. Subsequently, we’ve seen an improvement in reading engagement and ability. Going forward, this will also give our secondary schools have continuity with students going into year 7 for schools in the Trust. Previously, secondaries didn’t have primary students’ data.

“When classroom practice resumes, those schools will be able to utilise myON within and outside the classroom.”

One of our schools initially invested in myON due to school part-closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020. We looked into myON further, and the Trust invested in it for all Accelerated Reader user schools. The schools stated that they wouldn’t have acquired myON without the Trust investing in it for them. Four of our schools have heavily invested in more devices. When classroom practice resumes, those schools will be able to utilise myON within and outside the classroom. We no longer have to rely on sharing physical books with infection control because of the abundance of books on myON. The integration of it all with all libraries come together is seamless.

myON, Star Assessments, and Accelerated Reader will be fully integrated into classroom-based practice now that all students have devices and can work. Schools are now even timetabling Accelerated Reader time as it is part of our Trust’s core curriculum. Our Trust central staff looked at the impact that Renaissance solutions are having on our schools. As a Trust, we agreed that what creates high-level writers is high-level readers. We believe that both skills come hand in hand. The SLT at Trust-level recognised that Renaissance solutions are a highly valued part of our curriculum.

We have nurture provision in some of our schools. Over the last few years, we discovered that we had nine and ten-year-old children who had joined our schools, as they had been permanently excluded from others who could not read. We felt that this corresponded with the extreme behaviour that they were exhibiting. The behaviours were just diversion tactics to get out of a situation they were about to fail at as they could not read the work. As they were getting older, they could see having a teaching assistant helping them read the work wasn’t a good thing. Hence, they displayed behaviours to remove themselves from that situation. Consequently, we’ve since moved these children into a bespoke SEMH provision within the school, which has helped them understand their emotions. Subsequently, this has revealed that these students access the learning due to a lack of reading ability.

“With the help of Accelerated Reader, Star Assessments and myON, children begin enjoying reading.”

With the help of AR, Star Assessments and myON, they have utilised the reporting, online books and quizzes to develop their reading ability and begin enjoying reading. The children in the nurture provision now love reading. They can independently access the rich curriculum because they can read it for themselves. Students are now proud of their achievements. I reflected upon this situation and felt that it was very sad that no one realised that a lack of reading resulted in the behaviours they saw before coming to our school. The adults saw the behaviour but not the issue. These children now get more of a joy reading than they ever had. They are getting more out of school by reading the maths questions, texts, poems, and stories for themselves rather than relying on an adult to be there. Impacting on raising their self-esteem and instilling a wider love of learning that they never had before.

The Instructional Planning report within Star Assessments is excellent. If I can have a trust-level report that says something like 78% of children have improved their reading age or ZPD, then that is value for money if that is an accurate figure.

Renaissance Solutions, in general, are value for money by having a significant impact on children’s development.

The Numbers Don’t Lie!

  1. Total number of AR quizzes carried out over the last twelve months – a combined total of 37,684 quizzes with an average increase of 275.27%*
  2. Total number of Star Reading assessments carried out over the last twelve months – a combined total of 4,4442 assessments with an average increase of 142.22%*
  3. Average ZPD Score of user schools over the last twelve months – an average of 3.99*
  4. Average AR Reading Level of users schools over the last twelve months – an average of 3.28*
  5. Average AR Quiz % Correct of user schools over the last twelve months – an average of 76%*
  6. Average SR Scaled Score of user schools over the last twelve months – an average of 365.53 with an average increase of 16.26%*
  7. Average SR Time per Test of user schools over the last twelve months – an average of 16 minutes 15 seconds*

*2020 product usage stats will be distorted due to school closures in March 2020, resulting in infrequent quizzing/testing

To find out how your Trust can supporting reading proficiency across all schools, click here.


Programme , ,
School Type ,
Talking Points , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Region