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Case Study

Online dyslexia screening helps children to get the right support sooner

GL Assessment is the leading provider of assessments to UK schools. They wanted to create an online tool that would enable schools to quickly and easily screen large numbers of children for dyslexia. GL Ready, the mobile-friendly, cloud-based solution we built for them, is so intuitive that teaching staff can easily administer tests and access reports for whole schools without any training.

The brief

GL Assessment’s tools cover children’s ability and attainment, and identify barriers to learning to help teachers improve their understanding of each of their pupils. They wanted to move three of their existing CD-ROM-based dyslexia screeners to an online platform. As well as providing diagnostic reliability and validity, the platform needed to be fully-secure, optimised for school environments and super-simple for busy teaching staff to use.

Key points

Bespoke software development
Assessment tool
HTML5 games
Cloud-based solution

Our solution

The screening process at the heart of these assessments relies on a series of game-based tests. These assess key indicators of dyslexia in areas such as working memory, visual-verbal integration, auditory-verbal memory and reasoning.

A variety of still images from the sub-test games

We worked with GL Assessment’s educational psychologists to understand the precise requirements for reliable and valid screening across all of these. Accurate timing and consistent, repeatable delivery of the tests is essential, so for each sub-test all code and media assets are loaded to the browser in full before the pupil begins, to ensure the test can be completed without any buffering or interruption.

GL Assessment produced the visual and audio assets for the screening activities. We developed these into interactive sub-tests using the Phaser Javascript framework – which helps them feel like games (rather than web pages) because it allows interaction with the graphics. For example, pupils can use methods such as drag and drop to respond to test items.

Can Studios kept us fully involved and in control of how the tool developed: every stage and decision was explained in terms we could understand. Their focus was always on finding the best solution for every aspect of the assessment.

 

Jo Gallacher

GL Assessment Product Owner

We ran the project using the agile methodology. Its iterative design process meant the GL Assessment team – made up of publishers, educators and psychologists – quickly had prototypes that let them really see how various aspects would or could work in practice.

This helped them fully understand the decisions they needed to make and ensured that their knowledge of their customers’ needs continually informed the software design.

Based on our extensive experience of user-behaviour and interface design for education, we probed the suggested features and functions to streamline the overall platform and guard against overcomplicating it.

We also ensured that the necessary security considerations were designed-in right from the very start. For example, each school’s account runs from a separate database, so there is no risk that they can accidentally access each other’s records.

The results

With the cloud-based GL Ready platform, schools can administer as many tests as they need to simultaneously by simply accessing the school’s account – with either a staff or student login – from any browser. And because all the tests can be run on tablets as well as desktop machines, schools can carry out screening in just about any space that’s quiet and comfortable.

For school staff, the super-simple interface allows them to see straight away which tests have been assigned to / completed by each pupil. They don’t need any training to use the platform and at the click of a button they can administer screening which:

  • presents tests consistently and precisely
  • measures performance accurately
  • scores tests automatically
  • provides results instantly.

The online manual – which can be accessed via the platform – helps staff interpret each child’s individual results profile and provides suggestions for next steps and classroom support.

“With Can Studio’s help we’ve been able to make the dyslexia screening process really simple and quick. School staff can just log in and do what they need intuitively. And that means schools can start putting in place the right support measures for each dyslexic child more quickly.

 

Jo Gallacher

GL Assessment Product Owner

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