Case Studies

Key Stage 2 Reading SATs Question Level Analysis Study 2017-2018

In this study, we show that pupils using Reading Plus answer 10% more questions correctly when compared to their peers in the previous year. This represents school gains of 3 times that of the national average.



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®

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.


On average, the results from the schools involved in the study show an increase in the number of correct answers by almost 10%. This is an increase of more than 3 times the national average. Looking at the final text from the SATs Reading Paper (Figure 2), the pupils who used Reading Plus were able to attempt 8.68% more of the questions with 17.49% more accuracy.


Figure 1

Figure 2


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.

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