Trent College

Your name

Carole Slater

Your role

Exams Officer

Your school name

Trent College

Describe your school (type, age, location, demographic etc)

11-18 Independent

Did you trial the Exam Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?


Yes, we had one on trial in which we gave to a few students to use. Feedback was very positive.

What do you most like about the Exam Reader?

Students can be in the main exam room with other students cutting down the need for invigilators in satellite rooms reading to students.

Please describe how you are using the Exam Reader?

After assessment by the SENCo students are given the pen to trial in lessons. After that the pens are given out for class tests and end of year exams.

Please describe how the use of the Exam Reader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?


Students are more independent now and can sit with all the students in the main exam rather than being the odd one out in another room.

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the Exam Reader has helped (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)


Reduction in invigilation costs, reduction in the number of rooms needed for exams

How likely are you to recommend the Exam Reader to others?

Very likely to recommend to others.

 

St Martin's School, Brentwood

Your name

Maggie Howell

Your role

Send Exams Assistant

Your school name

St Martins School Brentwood

Describe your school (type, age, location, demographic etc)

Large secondary comprehensive school in Brentwood Essex.

Did you trial the Exam Reader / Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?

No, we did not trial before purchasing

What do you most like about the Exam Reader?

The ease of use and the access it gives to the students who need a reader

Please describe how you are using the Exam Reader?

We are using the reading pens for class assessments and in actual examinations – both PPE and External across all year groups.

Please describe how the use of the Exam Reader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?

Some of the students like the reading pens.

How likely are you to recommend the Exam Reader to others?

Very likely

Thomas Knyvett College

Your name

Lee Frost

Your role

Inclusion

Your school name

Thomas Knyvett College

Describe your school

Secondary school (11-16)

Did you trial the Exam Reader / Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?


Yes, initially tried one pen, with several students, then purchased more, in place of computer reader

What do you most like about the Exam Reader?

Independence that it can offer students

Please describe how you are using the Exam Reader?

For assessments, and exams, as normal way of working for students with concessions

Please describe how the use of the Exam Reader has affected your students’?

It has allowed more independence, as students not having to raise hands for a reader

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the Exam Reader has helped

Has helped with staffing, as students using the Exam Reader are now facilitated in the main exam hall, as opposed to separate room with a ratio of staff to students

How likely are you to recommend the Exam Reader to others?

Would recommend

Any other comments you would like to add?

I feel that the pens are a good aid to students.

Jonathan Boyle- Deputy Head, Madeley Academy

The C-Pen Exam Reader is a totally portable, pocket-sized device that reads text out aloud with an English almost-human digital voice. When I learned that electronic reading pens had been allowed by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams I began to take note.

On scrutinising the section ‘Adjustments for candidates with disabilities and learning difficulties’ it was clear to see that this was something different and now legitimately allows students who do not qualify for a reader to have access to an electronic device that reads questions. Clearly this had to be evaluated for our students.

I recall the simple examination wall warnings of old, and the list of proscriptions. Now of course, the poster reads rather differently, including a number of electronic devices reflecting the electronic age in which we live. And it reflects the progress we have made in supporting students who have issues with literacy and want to enjoy the benefits of assistive technologies.

Surely, this C-Pen Exam Reader can’t be allowed? Yes, it can be and it is officially allowed by JCQ. I managed to get hold of two different versions. The first was the C- Pen Reader, proudly displaying a high-gloss white plastic finish and easy-to-hold form.

After switching on, there was a delay of around 10 seconds before it was ready to use, but a C-Pen logo and a motion graphic let me know that something was happening. A menu prompt asked me if I wanted to use the Text Reader or other features including the Dictionary, Scan to File, Recorder or Settings. I used the centrally placed white jog dial to select the Text Reader and I was ready for action.

A flashing cursor soon blinked away at me, and that meant ‘action’! I had seen this in use at the Bett Show, so I tried to drag over some text from the manual (not having read it). A bright LED, reminiscent of Dr Whos Sonic Screwdriver, illuminated the text. The text appeared rapidly on the display and a generated voice was convincing enough and she even had a trace of personality.

Flawless with numbers and text

I learned enough over time to satisty myself that it was flawless with numbers and text – as long as they were printed of course. Moving from a right hand to a left hand was equally commendable on a settings change with the screen reversing to help things along.

Let us remember who this is aimed at – learners of all ages who can hold a pen and would like to hear the words they see written on a page. This helps with understanding the context of a word on a line or to read a single word.

This then is a clear winner. The blue text is bright and high contrast against a black background, although some may feel that it could be a little small for some students. With recording facilities for voice and a scan-to-file function for those tricky sentences or words, this a fantastic piece of technology.

It is a golden opportunity that I could not afford to miss personally and bought a class pack for my own school.

They are certainly robust enough, so the only other factor is counting them all out and counting them all back in again. Measuring the impact will be a little more challenging, but in a world of uncertainties in examinations, this little electronic pen is going to provide important facilities for those with literacy challenges who need them most in a situation where they would otherwise have little or no support.

At our school, Madeley Academy, students have taken to the pen with a very short lead time. Learning how to benefit from the pen takes an intuitive 10 to 15 seconds, so we are not talking about a training session prior to use (although it would be wise to give students the chance to handle and have a go before taking an exam).

 

Trevelyan Middle School

Your Name

Mrs Debra Roscoe

Your Role

SENCO

School Name and type

Trevelyan Middle School
We are a large middle school situated in Windsor with 521 pupils on roll. Our pupils begin with us in Year 5 and then move onto their high schools at the end of Year 8. Currently 68 pupils are on the SEN register with a significant minority presenting with Specific Learning Disabilities such as dyslexia. We also have approximately 15% of pupils with English as an additional language.

What review process did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?

I am in the processing of conducting a review of the scanning pen with the child who trialled it. I have spoken to the pupil to see how successful and easy he found the pen to use. I have also spoken with his teachers to gauge their impression of the pen. Overall, it has been a huge success. I have been so very impressed that I have put a bid together with the aim to get funding for two sets of pens to enable our dyslexic learners to access the curriculum and examinations more independently.

What do you most like about the Exam Reader?

I like many things about this technology. Firstly, it allows pupils to gain more independence and be self-reliant which in turn boosts their self-esteem. The pen is small enough to be portable and non-intrusive yet has the power to make real and significant impact on a learner’s self-esteem and access to education. In terms of bureaucracy, I very much appreciate that no access arrangements need to be sought for a pupil to use this pen in examinations.

Please describe how you are using the Exam Reader?

We have trialled this pen with one dyslexic pupil. Luke has had access to this pen in lessons where there is a significant amount of reading and comprehension. We are hopeful that as Luke gets used to using the pen as ‘second nature’ in lessons, he will easily and naturally put it to its best use in examinations. This will help to ‘level the playing field’ with other pupils.

Please describe how the use of the Exam Reader has affected your students’ academic work.

Luke has been able to access the curriculum more independently, thereby reducing his reliance on the class teacher. The facility the pen has to read difficult vocabulary means that he has spent less time struggling to decode language or waiting for the teacher to explain words and this has therefore given him more time to focus on understanding the learning. We anticipate that this will, in the fullness of time, impact positively on his academic success.

Please describe how it has affected your student’s confidence/independence.

Luke has been very excited about the independence the pen has given him in the classroom. Luke’s English teacher has reported that he is fully engaged in the lessons and as he has become more familiar with the pen he has become less reliant on her. This self-reliance has boosted Luke’s self-esteem as he can now learn at the same pace as others.

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the Exam Reader has helped (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)

When Luke (and others) begins to use this pen in all lessons I anticipate there being a more fluent learning process for all pupils. The teacher will be able to focus on the learning of the whole group rather than aiding pupils to decode the vocabulary first. Luke may still have a ‘reader’ for some of his examinations, however as we extend the Exam Reader to other pupils I am hopeful that we will reduce the pupils’ reliance on a ‘reader’ thereby allowing staff to be redeployed as pupils find they are more independent. Where schools pay for the services of a ‘reader’ I can see this cost being significantly reduced. The Exam Reader is an expensive outlay for a school, but one that will very quickly pay for itself in cost and time savings.

How likely are you to recommend the Exam Reader to others?

I would absolutely recommend this pen to all schools.

Any other comments you would like to add?

Yes. As part of the bid I have put together to fund more of these pens for our school.

Gosberton Academy

Teacher

How did you incorporate the use of the pen into your lesson plan?

As I am a Year 4 teacher I allocated the C-Pen into my guided reading lessons particularly when the children were answering comprehension questions. I used my two dyslexic children as the case study in my class. I passed two C-Pens to a Year 6 teacher who is currently in the process of preparing for SATS he gave the C-Pens to two of his children who will require scribes during SATS.

How much training time did you need to become familiar with the pen?

The children took to the C-Pens straight away. Once they figured out which way to hold them they were fine. Students needed only 1 lesson to get to grips with C-Pen and how it functions.

How long did it take you to use the pen accurately?

It literally took 1 lesson to get the children to understand how to use the pen.

Did you feel confident with the pen and its facilities?

I feel using the C-Pen has not only helped me as a teacher but also helped further enhance the student’s capabilities regarding reading and understanding the comprehension. It has helped me focus on others in class as the children using the C-Pen can be left independent workers. The students using the pens have also been able to understand questions asked and identify the correct answer in the text.

Did you feel the extra time and support some students required was worth the input to overcome the user’s issues?


Definitely, sacrificing a lesson to teach the students how to use the pen has greatly benefitted the student. It has allowed me time to work with other students that sometimes were not given enough attention. In year 6 it has enabled the teacher to work on his students who need that extra push before SATS.

How did you overcome user problems? What strategies did you incorporate to alleviate this?


Once children were taught how to use the C-Pen there were no issues with using the pens.

How often were you required to prompt the students to make use of the pen?

To begin with I had to remind the students to get their C-Pen ready for the lesson nearly every day. After a week the children naturally had their pens ready for the lesson to begin. In year 6 this was the same until eventually the children had everything ready to practice their SATS which included the Pen.

When a student began to make use of the pen without prompting what did you consider had occurred for them?


It was clear to see the children had become independent learners. They were comfortable in their lessons/tests and started to enjoy the reading aspect of their learning as they found it much more accessible to them. It also encouraged others in the class to want to use the Pen.

Which lessons did you anticipate the pens would be used in?

The pens were used in Guided reading in both Year 4 and Year 6 to answer comprehension questions and understand the text. It has also been used in Year 6 practice SATS.

What support does the pen offer to the student from an educational viewpoint?

It enables the student to become independent learners and not heavily reliant on adult support. They can access so much reading related content and it breaks down the barrier of not understanding what a question is asking or misreading what a question is asking.

What support does the pen offer to the student from an emotional and well- being viewpoint?


Again, it enables the student’s confidence to flourish. They have quickly begun to enjoy their reading as they are able to access much more reading content than ever before. They also seem more excited when it comes to reading.

Would you recommend the pen, and if so why?

I would 100% recommend the pen as it offers so much more than a teacher can ever supply. It enables the child a chance to work independently and acts as a 1:1 support when it comes to reading.

Student Feedback

Using the pen has been a positive experience and it is easy to use. The pen gave me independence and I enjoyed using the C-Pen, it was really great, and it helped me to break down big words and understand what I was looking for when I used it to read questions to me. We have used the C-Pens in our guided reading lessons. We don’t have to use a teacher anymore to help us read the questions and we like doing it by ourselves. The C-Pen lets us understand what the question is asking and then we can scan the writing to find the answer. Sometimes we have used them to read books that our teacher doesn’t allow, and we can even understand the words in them. I have used them in mock SATS and they help me work by myself and I got better scores than ever before.

 

Baxter College

Your name

Chris Mann

Your role

Assistant Principal & SENDCO

Your school name

Baxter College

Describe your school (type, age, location, demographic etc) 

Secondary Kidderminster 11-18

Did you trial the Exam Reader / Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?

Trialled with pupils, parents, friends to test for ease of use, clarify, left hand/right hand. Positive feedback from all participants

What do you most like about the Exam Reader?

Clarity of voice and wording on screen. Flexibility of headphone use, language availability, precision

Please describe how you are using the Exam Reader?

In class for pupils with reading issues, low reading age, dyslexic tendencies, mock and final exams

Please describe how the use of the Exam Reader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?


Increased confidence allows them to access exams to a greater degree and puts them on a level footing with others. It is an investment in pupils who struggle

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the Exam Reader has helped (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)

Reduction in number of TA’s required as readers and less reliance on TAs in the classroom

How likely are you to recommend the Exam Reader to others?

Highly likely

Any other comments you would like to add?

Thank you for creating them, a great piece of kit

Nene Park Academy

Your role

Examinations and Achievement Manager

Your school name

Nene Park Academy

Describe your school (type, age, location, demographic etc)

Academy, 8 years, Peterborough, city school

Did you trial the Exam Reader / Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?
Yes, student opinion, ease of use, cost. Conclusions – benefits for achievement outweighed the cost. Students liked using them. Time saving and assist in higher achievement in exams.

What do you most like about the Exam Reader?

Ease of use

Please describe how you are using the Exam Reader?

All students in Year 11, 12 and 13 are allocated a personal pen which is given out in all exams. Year 11 use them in English prior to exams so they are proficient in the use of them

Please describe how the use of the Exam Reader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?


Improved results, students can be independent and do not feel stigmatised using them

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the Exam Reader has helped (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)


Saved time for both EO and Invigilators. Releases laptops for use elsewhere. Easier to transport around exam venues

How likely are you to recommend the Exam Reader to others?

Very!

Any other comments you would like to add?

Fabulous product! Staff and students all love it!