School Leaders, Teachers, Technology

Paper vs Tech Reading Assessments

The regular assessment of children’s progress in literacy is essential for helping primary school teachers to understand what reading support pupils need to fully access the curriculum. But how efficient and economical is a fully paper-based reading assessment programme, currently in use in many schools? Could there be a more effective and informed way to assess and support children’s reading development?

To find out, we recently commissioned a piece of independent research in partnership with Whytek Consulting Ltd to ascertain whether the use of paper reading tests alone were meeting the needs of teachers and pupils.

The Project

The study would make a direct comparison between an entirely paper-based assessment model, which is typically used in many primary schools, and the use of Lexplore Analytics’ eye-tracking and AI technology as a means of assessing children’s reading at St Thomas’ C of E Primary Academy. This report compares the different aspects of reading that are assessed by the two systems, outlines how the participating school was selected and highlights the key findings from the study.

It provides much food for thought for primary schools making decisions about assessment models for boosting pupils’ literacy development – and may prompt school leaders to review their current practices for both cost and effectiveness

How much time did Lexplore save St Thomas?

We measured and compared the amount of time required to administer paper assessments versus Lexplore Analytics, including how much time was spent printing and copying, marking and analysing pupils’ test results.

The data revealed that the time spent managing PIRA and SATs assessments for Years 2 to 6 at St Thomas’ in a single academic year amounted to 378 hours. Whereas using Lexplore, the total time it took to assess children’s reading was just 173 hours.

Comparison of reading assessment costs

We also worked out the cost of running the fully paper-based assessment programme of PIRA and SATs at St Thomas’s and compared this to the cost of using Lexplore Analytics.

The resulting figures include costs in relation to the time the SMT, teaching and administrative staff had to spend managing the testing, marking and analysing the results, the cost of the assessments themselves along with any additional resources used as part of the process. We based this on information provided by the school in terms of cost of materials and also staff time based on salary costs.

This showed that the total cost of using PIRA and SATs was £9,690 per year. With Lexplore Analytics, the annual cost would be just £4,986, based on the 2021 subscription rate of £7 per pupil per year.

This means that the use of Lexplore Analytics reduced the cost of assessing pupils’ reading by almost 50%.

What difference did Lexplore make?

As well as examining time and cost savings, we wanted to find out how teachers felt about the Lexplore Analytics assessment and the information it provided in comparison to the paper-based model. Afterall, there is little benefit in a school considering a change to its assessment strategy if there would be no significant advantages in doing so, such as ease of use or higher quality of information available to inform classroom practice.

So, we asked teachers to rate their experiences of using both assessment models on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the top score). When compared with using PIRA and SATs, Lexplore Analytics scored highest in every aspect

To find out more about these findings, you can download the full report using the button below.

Download the full report

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