Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Useful, Accurate and Efficient Star Maths Assessments at Milton Primary School

Milton Primary Academy, Stoke-on-Trent, England, UK

Milton Primary Academy has been using Star Maths to support the school’s numeracy development strategy and to produce accurate progress data for whole-year groups since 2021.

Following the recent success the school has seen from utilising accurate assessment data and consequently being able to implement tangible intervention strategies through Star Assessments, we got in touch with their Mathematics leader, Ash, who explained the value of Star Maths.

Ash explains:

Accurate, useful and time-efficient

“You can see that Star Maths assessments take up a lot less time and produce the same useful and accurate data.”

The first thing we did after subscribing to Star Maths was to look at the assessments provided and compare them to national assessment year group expectations. We wanted to see if Star Maths offered the following:

  • Was the Star Maths assessment data in line with national year group expectations?
  • Did the Star Maths assessment data match teachers’ expectations of what children would achieve?
  • Did Star Maths provide an accurate baseline benchmark following the national assessments of the 21/22 academic year?
  • Did Star Maths corroborate teachers’ judgement at the start of the year regarding whether each student was on track to meet their individual targets?
  • Did Star Maths data accurately predict and illustrate these pupils who did achieve their target?

Generally, barring anomalies that you’ll always see with one-off national assessments, there is parity between Star Maths assessment data, national assessments, and teachers’ judgments, providing an accurate overall judgement. 

Now that we’re confident Star Maths assessment data is accurate, we can use this information to corroborate our own expectations of pupils’ strengths and weaknesses in different domains of maths, such as geometry or position and direction, to offer intervention where it’s most needed. 

Because of the accuracy of Star Maths assessment data, we’re now utilising the progress reports to offer further intervention to pupils who need the most support. For example, one of our colleagues who oversees the national tutoring programme in the school will request Star Maths assessment report printouts before planning intervention strategies.

The main thing is that Star Maths is useful, accurate, and time efficient. Each assessment takes pupils 10 – 20 minutes to complete on the computer or tablet. Then, following the quick assessment, you find yourself looking at an entire class’s worth of progress, standardised and intervention data. 

In contrast, by the time pupils have completed a written assessment, which we still conduct for good practice, and teachers have marked each individual paper, question by question, you can see that Star Maths assessments take up a lot less time and produce the same useful and accurate data.

Intuitive intervention

“The Star Maths assessments are important for us to forecast pupils who need to be on track to meeting their end-of-term or year target.”

Knowing that Star Maths Assessments would automatically group pupils by common area of need in maths was useful for a classroom teacher planning intervention strategies for pupils who need additional support. 

We’ll complete a minimum of three Star Maths assessments each year at the beginning of each new term to identify those pupils who need additional support early on and to validate our own assessment judgement. 

These assessments allow us to plan term and year-long support strategies for pupils who need it daily. The Star Maths assessments are important for us to forecast pupils who need to be on track to meeting their end-of-term or year target, particularly year-five pupils who are about to transition into year six. 

Sharing Star Maths reports with staff before year groups transition into their new classes helps provide staff with an overview of their new class’s numeracy understanding.

Including key stakeholders

“Our staff want to analyse this longitudinal contextualised data, and Star Maths allows us to.”

When we have regular pupil progress meetings, we always print Star Maths assessment reports in advance and refer to them to discuss each child’s progress.

From a teacher’s point of view, these reports provide tangible evidence of day-to-day intervention strategies and their impact. From a leader’s perspective, Star Maths assessment reports provide an accurate macro-level overview of progress made between one assessment point to another, such as from September to December. 

Star Maths reports illustrate the progress made via several different standardised and benchmark metrics. Therefore, this is useful for teachers to analyse not just how pupils progress in maths according to their chronological age but also from whole year-group expectations over the course of twelve months. Our staff want to analyse this longitudinal contextualised data, and Star Maths allows us to.

As we advance with Star Maths assessments

“Suppose a Star Maths assessment tells us that up to ten pupils need additional support with Geometry; the teacher can plan whole-class and group-focussed learning strategies.”

Primarily as an assessment tool to ensure the percentage of children we think are on track is important for the school as a whole. But for the pupils, Star Maths is crucial in allowing us to identify their unique areas of need. 

The ability to collectively group certain pupils in certain classes or year groups to work on a common area of need allows staff to delegate and mage workloads across year groups. For example, suppose a Star Maths assessment tells us that up to ten pupils need additional support with Geometry; the teacher can plan whole-class and group-focussed learning strategies, in that case, more efficiently. 

Click here to find out how your school can utilise Star Maths to support your numeracy development strategy.


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