English Language Standards Achieved by Primary Students At Bloomsbury

The school’s management has received a number of queries from parents and guardians recently over how best to assess our Primary students’ standards and progress in the area of English Language. English is a key subject for all Bloomsbury students: not only is it taught in its own right as a major timetable component; it’s also the medium of instruction for all other subjects (such as Science, Mathematics etc) except Thai and Chinese.

A good way to determine students’ proficiency in English at Bloomsbury is to assess their ability in various language skills and then compare this to how native speaking students of the same age perform in the UK. Reading is a key component of learning English Language – it’s sometimes described as the key to understanding. Reading helps build a student’s English vocabulary, comprehension and usage confidence. It also develops a child’s interests and skills and helps refine their growing intellectual acumen and brain power.

For the past 2 years, Bloomsbury has been monitoring its Primary students’ English reading skills by using the New Group Reading Test (‘NGRT’). The NGRT is a world famous testing service which is owned by a body called GL Assessment. GL Assessment has over the past 30 years become the leading provider of formative assessments to UK schools, to overseas ministries and to British, bilingual and international schools in over 100 countries worldwide. Its educational and technical expertise is acknowledged globally; its powerful digital assessment system has delivered over 7,000,000 online tests across the world.

The NGRT is used to assess and monitor pupils’ reading and comprehension skills – and, if necessary, phonemic awareness. This can help identify, for instance, competent readers with weak comprehension skills. Further details of GL Assessment and its NGRT may be viewed at <https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/about-us/> and <https://gl-education.com/products/new-group-reading-test-ngrt/>

NGRT results obtained by Primary students at Bloomsbury over the past 2 years are as follows:

AUGUST 2016 NGRT – Standardised English Reading Age Scores (UK average = 100)
  All students Male students Female students
Bloomsbury Year 2 (now Y3) students 87.2 71.0 91.2
Bloomsbury Year 3 (now Y4) students 80.8 75.0 85.4
Bloomsbury Year 4 (now Y5) students 85.2 81.5 88.2
Bloomsbury Year 5 (now Y6) students 85.5 77.3 93.7
Bloomsbury Year 6 (now Y7) students 78.5 78.3 93.7

AUGUST 2017 NGRT – Standardised English Reading Age Scores (UK average = 100)
  All students Male students Female students
Bloomsbury Year 3 students 85.8 79.0 89.8
Bloomsbury Year 4 students 83.1 80.8 86.0
Bloomsbury Year 5 students 87.1 83.6 90.6
Bloomsbury Year 6 students 87.9 85.7 89.0

As a rule of thumb, the Standard Age score is based on the number of questions a student answers correctly. The result is then adjusted for age and placed on a scale that makes it possible to compare it with the result obtained by a native English speaking student of the same age in the UK.

These scores above demonstrate the progress made in English reading skill in just one calendar year by each Bloomsbury Primary class. The average Standard English Reading Age Score in the UK (among native English speakers) is between 89 and 111. Nearly all Bloomsbury Primary year classes have significantly improved their English Reading scores during the period between August 2016 and August 2017. We trust parents at Bloomsbury will feel duly gratified with and proud of such impressive progress on the part of Primary students in English reading skills.

Reading Age Scores

The Reading Age scores indicated below provide an accurate representation of a child’s reading ability in years and months, regardless of their biological age.

AUGUST 2016 NGRT – Reading Age Scores (YY:MM)
  All students Male students Female students
Bloomsbury Year 2 (now Y3) students 5:07 5:00 5:09
Bloomsbury Year 3 (now Y4) students 5:03 5:03 6:00
Bloomsbury Year 4 (now Y5) students 6:10 6:00 7:01
Bloomsbury Year 5 (now Y6) students 7:11 7:00 8:06

AUGUST 2017 NGRT – Reading Age Scores (YY:MM)
  All students Male students Female students
Bloomsbury Year 3 students 6:00 5:07 6:04
Bloomsbury Year 4 students 6:10 6:09 6:11
Bloomsbury Year 5 students 7:10 7:03 8:06
Bloomsbury Year 6 students 09:00 8:04 9:06

These scores show the reading ages (YY:MM) on average for males, females and the whole class at Bloomsbury. Averages for whole class are accurate and take into account the fact that some students in a class may have scored below 5 years old as their reading age.

We trust parents will be proud of these impressive achievements on the part of Primary students at Bloomsbury.


Dear Parents,

At Bloomsbury International School Hatyai, all students in our Primary Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 sit the NGRT test to determine their reading age. This exercise is undertaken at the beginning of each academic year or when a new student enrolls. The data from this test gives a comprehensive assessment of each child’s English reading ability (in terms of both reading and understanding).

Above you will see 2 sets of data on which our results are based. Firstly, you will see Bloomsbury students’ Standard Age Scores, which compare their ability to the expected levels of native English speaking students of the same age in the UK. Secondy, you will see each Bloomsbury child’s English reading age given in years and months.

After comparing our NGRT results from August 2016 to those in August 2017, the data above shows that on average Bloomsbury Primary students made a highly impressive 8-9 months’ progress in their English reading skills. Data from August 2017 shows that on average our students are almost at the same level as native English speaking students of the same age in English reading ability.

My fellow Primary teachers at Bloomsbury and I are happy to report that our school’s English reading policy in the Primary Section (which is to set 15 minutes of English reading per night), English timetabling policy (which provides 5 hours of English lessons per week) and English as an Additional Language (‘EAL’) programme are enabling Bloomsbury Primary students to enhance their English language skills in the key area of reading and generally to a significant and impressive degree.

In August 2018, we will be conducting the next round of NGRT testing with our Primary students to measure the continuing progress of each child. For legal reasons, we are unable to make the results available online; if, however, you would like to receive your child’s NGRT results at Bloomsbury, please contact me directly and I will be happy to make them available to you.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss these results in further detail, please feel free to contact me accordingly.

Kind regards

Craig Rowark
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