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English Stars: The perks of being digital

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English Stars: The perks of being digital

English Stars 8/5/18


When you choose an educational program on a digital platform, you expect readily available bespoke multimedia resources. But are there any other significant benefits? When it comes to English Stars, the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes!’. Read on to discover just a few of the digital perks of English Stars.

Automatic marking and differentiation

One of the biggest perks of a digital platform is automatic marking because it saves so much time. Many English Stars activities automatically mark students’ answers, then differentiate students based on their results. Extension students are streamed to more challenging questions, while students needing support are given extra practice of the core content.

How does this work? Most modules include Activities 1 and 2 (core), and Extension. If a student achieves 100% on their first attempt of Activity 1, they are fast-tracked to Extension. Students who achieve less than 100% in Activity 1 get a second attempt at the questions they answered incorrectly before being streamed to Activity 2, where they are given additional core questions.

Student diagnostics

English Stars’ digital platform also includes the Activity Tracker – a powerful monitoring tool that allows you to identify your students’ needs so you know when to step in with a helping hand. With the tracker, you can keep an eye on the activity progress and performance of your whole class in real time.

Looking across the tracker rows, you can see each student’s progress and performance in the activities. When a student answers multiple questions incorrectly, you can offer remediation.

Looking down the tracker columns, you can see how all students are performing on a particular question. A pattern of students getting the same question wrong might reveal a collective gap in understanding, which you can then address as a class.

Workflow and classroom management

There are always many things in a classroom that can compete for a student’s attention and potentially disrupt workflow. English Stars gives teachers an edge in this competition with some handy digital tools.

Eyes Up Front

With the touch of a button, the Eyes Up Front function temporarily suspends students’ access to the program and instructs them to pay attention to you. You’ll find the button in the menu bar, accessible from anywhere in English Stars. You can deactivate Eyes Up Front when you’re ready to let your students continue.

Activity locks and more

For each set of activities in English Stars, there’s a locking tool that you can use to lock or unlock activities for students. By default, all activities in the program are locked and students won’t be able to access them until you unlock them. The locking tools prevent students from jumping the gun or completing the wrong set of activities.

In assessments, you’ll also find a similar tool that gives you the option to hide results from students. This is helpful when you don’t want some students to see their results before others, or if you simply want to release class results at a later date.

Return and reset options

English Stars includes the option for teachers to return or reset students’ work once it’s been submitted online. Maybe you’d like a student to improve the work they submitted, or maybe someone just submitted their work by mistake. In either case you can return the student’s work to them so they can keep going and submit again. Alternatively, you can reset an activity entirely if you’d like a student to start from scratch.

Printable flexibility

Handwritten or typed? Sometimes it’s pedagogically important to use one over the other; sometimes it’s up to teacher preference. A good blended learning program should offer the best of both worlds, which is just what English Stars does. Virtually everything digital in the program has a printable option, including activities, assessments, rubrics and comprehension texts. You can even print out student work and interactive rubrics that have been completed online – great for using in physical portfolios or showcasing at parent–teacher interviews.


English Stars makes reporting easy thanks to the Assessment Results page, where student results are automatically tabulated for the whole year. The page shows each student’s mark for each assessment and also provides quick access to the work they submitted. You can use this data to inform your student reporting for English. Additionally, you can download the data and pass it on to your Head of Curriculum to be collated for cohort analysis.

No spellchecker

Most computer programs have inbuilt spellcheckers because they make life easier. However, in a program that teaches students English skills, a spellchecker would be counterproductive. That’s why English Stars doesn’t have one for students. When completing activities online, students need to pay close attention to their spelling and proofreading. It’s worthwhile pointing this out to your students because they might take it for granted that they have spellcheck when using a digital device.

Student engagement

On top of the high-quality resources and interactive activities to keep students engaged, English Stars incorporates a reward system called Solar Flair. Students earn points for answering questions correctly, receive special effort awards from their teacher, and collect achievements for reaching milestones in activities. Each student has their own Solar Flair portfolio page where they can view and take pride in their progress, inspiring them to achieve even more.

To find out more about Solar Flair (and get a free downloadable poster), check out our Launch into Solar Flair article.

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