Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Assessment made easy at Manor Leas Junior Academy

by Chelsea Sandbrook, Assistant Head Teacher

Recent figures on pupil progress in our school

Manor Leas Success Story Table

Our experience prior to implementing Star Assessments

Prior to implementing Star Assessments, we had been using a markbook-style online tracking system for all subjects. Not only did this dramatically increase workload of staff, the data produced was not reliable for in-depth analysis at a leadership or governor level. We also found that pupil ‘Reading Records’ were overloading staff with marking and having very little impact on the engagement of our pupils. Equally concerning was the fact that we didn’t truly understand what our pupils could do independently by looking at a Reading Record. As class sizes increased and staff numbers dropped due to budget cuts, reading with children on a daily basis was unmanageable. We needed something that could give us an accurate reflection of a pupil’s ability and achievements that didn’t waste valuable curriculum time and didn’t increase the workload of our staff.

The effect of using Star Assessments in our school

To help resolve these problems, we decided to implement Star Assessments. All pupils in school (Key Stage 2) have now been using Star Reading for just over two years and Star Maths for a year. This decision completely changed assessment in our school. We found that the Star could be administered more regularly as the tests only take about 20 minutes. This enables us to track pupils in reading and maths on a more regular basis and report this to parents. Not only are the Star Assessments administered digitally, but the results and analysis tools are available immediately at the click of a button. No time spent marking for the teachers, more time spent analysing the results and planning for intervention, support or challenge.

Reporting to Leadership and Parents with ease

Part of our teachers’ planning, preparation and assessment time is spent identifying pupils that need praise, support or intervention. Since the reports are so simple to generate, teachers can easily report this to the Leadership Team who can then give them the necessary support. As a Leadership Team, we can quickly look at overall performance from individual, class, year group or whole school level. The ability to do this in real-time has drastically improved our understanding of our pupils from a leadership perspective. Headlines from reports are shared with governors on a regular basis and ensure we are sharing up-to-date and accurate attainment and progress figures. For parents, we also provide individual reports at Parent Consultation Evenings as part of our annual reporting process. Our SENCo also uses the Star Assessments results to report to parents during SEN Review meetings. Using the Star Reports has again saved us precious time creating these reports for parents since all results and analysis tools are available at the click of a button.

Measuring and tracking attainment in our school

The Star Screening Report is a very visual way to identify pupils who are not achieving to the best of their ability. These reports have sparked brilliant conversations between staff teams about potential barriers to achievement and the possible solutions. Since all the data is stored securely in Renaissance Place, it makes it very easy to track pupils over long periods of time. No more massive folders full of paper grids or online markbooks! Pupil information is then easily shared during transition between year groups.

More pupils are now achieving expected standard!

Since starting our journey with Accelerated Reader and Star Assessments two years ago, we have seen an over 20% increase in pupils achieving the expected standard in reading and over 10% reaching a higher standard, bringing us above the national average in 2018.

Why we recommend Renaissance

When changing to a new assessment system, having the necessary training and support is a priority. Renaissance Learning has a fantastic team of professionals on hand to help with everything from the initial set up of your assessment system, to more in-depth questions about the reporting tools.

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