Matchborough First School Academy
Matchborough First School Academy are a three-form entry first school with year groups Reception to Year 4 in Matchborough, Redditch. We also have a Nursery, Language Unit and Wraparound Care. Reading has been a real focus for us over the last couple of years, especially assessment of reading and promoting Reading for Pleasure (RfP).
How did the assessment programme help to overcome any challenges?
Prior to using Lexplore Analytics back in 2020, we were mainly using paper-based assessments termly to assess reading across year groups. This of course came with cost implications, time constraints and added teacher workload due to marking. We were also concerned that constant testing, particularly for younger children would completely “turn off” children from reading. The appeal of Lexplore was that testing was efficient and could provide instant results. We also quickly found out that children enjoyed the experience, as it was something new to them and were intrigued by the eye-tracking technology. Lexplore quickly proved to be the answer to the challenges we faced at the time.
Were there any surprising or unexpected findings from the results?
Generally, the assessment data has often matched teacher predictions and judgements however there have been a few cases, particularly with lower attaining children where they have actually performed better either on the fluency test or comprehension questions. This has then allowed us to adjust our termly assessment data, providing us with a clear indication of where a certain pupil’s strengths may lie.
What were the teachers’ initial reactions to the assessment and results?
When seeing the technology used for the first time, teachers were generally very impressed, especially with the eye-tracking software. There was certainly a great deal of intrigue and staff were keen to see it in action. Staff were also surprised by how quickly the results were readily available. They found the breakdown of scores, colour coding and comparisons with national average most useful.
Did children prefer the assessment to traditional paper-based tests?
Most definitely! Having spoken to a number of children from KS1 and KS2, children are very quick to voice how they favour this way of testing. They have spoken about how they find the whole experience “interesting” and that they prefer only having to read a short extract of text rather than a whole page. Children have also commented how they like the questions because “there aren’t too many”.
Has the implementation of our assessment resulted in any time or cost savings for the school?
While the initial software can be expensive to purchase, once staff have been trained, we are beginning to make this money spent back through saving on traditional paper-based tests we would have to order each time.
The implementation of Lexplore Assessment has certainly provided us with time saving particularly for pupils who would normally need a whole lesson to complete a traditional-reading paper. As testing per child is only 5 minutes, there is no detrimental impact on children’s learning or wider curriculum. This is a real strength of the programme!
It has also saved time for teachers in regards to implementation of testing and having to complete large amounts of onerous marking. Another big plus! The only time constraint is on the staff actually administering the tests, however this can be shared amongst the dedicated assessors and we know we have the option of training more staff in the future.
What were you most impressed with about working with Lexplore Analytics?
- Additional diagnostic tool that can be used to inform teacher assessment and intervention
- Multitude of reading data provided for each child and ranking children in terms of ability
- Ease and speed of delivery
- Speed of results
- Supportive Lexplore Team
- Easy to navigate portal and user-friendly software
- Additional resources including intervention packages
- Positive comments from OSTED on our use of Lexplore