In 2016, the KS2 SAT Reading paper was overhauled, which has seen a significant increase in the quantity of words pupils have to read and the complexity of sentence structure and vocabulary. Consequently, since the new papers were introduced, a number of children have consistently failed to complete the test. This study aims to compare ‘Key Stage 2 Reading Data by Question’ from the 2017 SAT Reading paper to the 2018 Reading paper, in order to demonstrate the impact using Reading Plus has on the amount of children completing the questions and the subsequent impact on scaled scores. Ten schools located in the North of England, spread across eight different authorities, provided data for the case study. These schools received results for the Reading paper that were either below, or significantly below, the national average in 2017. Each school purchased Reading Plus at the beginning of the 2017/18 academic year, following concerns about their 2017 SATs reading results, specifically their pupil’s fluency and stamina. In total, data was drawn from 672 pupils. The demographic for 9 out of the 10 schools is above the national average for Pupil Premium/Free School Meals, with an average of 10% EAL pupils.
Reading Plus is a web-based program that builds upon the foundational skills of phonemic awareness and phonics to develop reading with metacognition – reading for meaning. Aimed at pupils in KS2 and above, Reading Plus combines a wide variety of age-appropriate texts with rigorous questioning designed to challenge a pupil’s deeper understanding of texts. This, together with vocabulary exercises, develops a strong foundation for reading fluency and comprehension. Using a unique Guided Window system, Reading Plus accelerates silent reading speed and increases pupils’ stamina. If used with efficacy, after 12 hours of usage, the average gains are 1 – 1½ years increase in text complexity and 50-60 words per minute increase in comprehension based reading speed.
The results below show the number of questions the 2017 cohort (who did not use Reading Plus) attempted in their SATs Reading Paper, compared to the 2018 cohort (who did use Reading Plus). In 2017 (Figure 1), 6.38% of the questions were left unanswered across the whole paper. This equates to just over 2.5 questions per child. In 2018, only 3.23% of the questions were left unanswered. Therefore, the average pupil, who used Reading Plus, was able to attempt 3.15% more of the questions in their reading paper.
The data shows a significant increase in the amount of questions the pupils were able to attempt, and answer correctly, after using Reading Plus albeit over a short period of time. This led to the schools gaining a significantly higher increase in results when compared to the national average. Therefore, this suggests that developing fluency, stamina and resilience, through the use of Reading Plus, has resulted in pupils being able to read the KS2 SATs Reading paper more quickly with greater understanding, meaning more time can be dedicated to writing higher quality answers.
What a positive impact Reading Plus has had on our results! Out of our lower-ability Year 6 cohort, 66% achieved the Expected Standard, with 22% achieving Greater Depth. We are thrilled with this as all have made great progress and many have achieved ‘unimaginable targets’!
Danielle Brett, Head of Year 6
Ponteland Middle School
Reading Plus has been instrumental in raising the profile of reading further amongst our year 6 children. Most importantly, I feel Reading Plus has given our children greater confidence in accessing more challenging texts which have further encouraged a love of reading.
Emma Wake, Year 6 Teacher
Christ Church Primary School
Over my teaching career, I have never worked with such an effective, enjoyable and accessible intervention programme. The support from the staff at Reading Solutions UK, especially Jonny and Amanda, has been second to none. We look forward to continuing our partnership in years to come and to see many more of our children develop and sustain a life long love for reading.
Miss J. Parkin, Head of KS2
Dunston Hill Primary School
It is a really good resource and we have found that the after care service from the company is second to none in helping schools get it set up and interpreting what is happening with the children.
Beverley McCallion, Headteacher
Bede Community Primary School
Due to the increase in reading data this year, our combined scores have increased by 20%. Well worth the investment!
Claire Park, Headteacher
The Village Primary
I have been amazed at the impact Reading Plus has had on our SATs outcomes this year, our percentages of children attaining at the higher standard national standard have almost doubled
Caroline Taylor, Headteacher
Barley Fields Primary School
What is most encouraging is that pupils are now transferring the skills used in Reading Plus and approaching examination style texts with more confidence and determination
Sue Davies, Senior Teacher
Year 6 have loved Reading Plus and I strongly believe that it has fully prepared them with the stamina to get through their reading SAT. Previous to this year our children have really struggled with their stamina
Sinead Walsh, Deputy Headteacher
Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School
Reading Plus has given our children a hunger for reading success and they show immense pride when receiving their level up certificates in whole school assemblies
Nerys Thornton, Deputy Head Teacher
Thorntree Primary School
We have found that regular use of this program has significantly improved the reading levels of all our children. The Reading Plus team are extremely helpful and have been able to efficiently help us with any issues.
Martin Stamper, Teacher
Ludworth Primary School