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The Mount School compare the old and new edition of DRA


School background

The Mount School is a small independent girls’ day and boarding school.  I am (was) Head of Learning Support and all the girls assessed were on the Learning Support register.  The chief difficulty experienced by these students is dyslexia and that is the reason many parents choose The Mount. 


How are you using DRA?

DRA has been used for individual assessment on taster days in the Junior School (Years 3 -6).  It is used to track rapid progress for individual students in Years 7-9 and it is used crucially for Y9 upwards to assess for AQA access arrangements. 


Why did you choose this resource?

I have been using DRA for many years so an update with more data available was very attractive. 


What are the main benefits of the resource?

  • Listening comprehension.
  • Student friendly as it is a relaxing surprise for an adult to say, ‘I am going to read to you first’! 
  • Age AND standardised scores are helpful for teachers. 
  • Reading speed and comprehension speed are often hidden difficulties, going alongside generalised processing speed difficulties; DRA provides a fuller picture. 
  • Suitability for AQA AAO. 


How effective has this resource been in helping you identify strengths and weaknesses, and can you give any examples?

Very effective. Many students have spiky profiles and DRA helps pinpoint these. For instance, one student has Reading Accuracy of SS120 but comprehension of SS84.This highlights the speech and language impairment involved.

Another student had comprehension of SS117 (reading age 16.1) which was excellent BUT this is because the questions were read to her. The contrast with Access Reading Test where she had to read to herself, RA 7.5, justified an application for ET at GCSE.


Have you used both pupil record forms and how has this been helpful?

It is very helpful to have 2 forms as there is a constant need to show progress (or lack of it) and improvement in specific areas.


How have the assessment results helped to direct teaching plans?

The cover page ensures that effort is not put into general reading but can be more specific. School has invested in Speed Reading programmes as accuracy is well ahead of speed in the cohort of the standardisation.


Would you recommend this resource to schools?  Why?

I would ALWAYS recommend DRA as it is personal, establishes great rapport with the students, leads to good dialogue about preferences for Fiction/ Non-fiction (or lack of understanding of the difference) and suitability for AA. Error analysis provides a great deal of information in minimal time.


Did you use the previous editions of DRA?  How is this version better?

Yes, I used the previous edition and this is better. The new student book is more up to date and the assessor’s booklet is very easy to use.


Any other comments?

DRA is a very complete package.  It is actually always enjoyable to mark and provides almost instant feedback.