Engaging Eyes Trial Results

2020 Trial
2018 Trial
Avg Reading Improvement
12 Months
12 Months
Length of Intervention
3 Months
3 Months
Research Design
One group pre-test/post-test study
Age Range
KS1, KS2 (6 - 11 year olds)
KS2 (7 - 11 year olds)
Inclusion Criteria
Pupils were all identified by their SENCO as having a reading age of at least 12 months behind their chronological age
Result
On average pupils’ reading accuracy improved by 12 months over the 3-month period.

The Ratio Gain shows Remarkable Impact
No. of Pupils
402 pupils from 49 schools
40 pupils from 4 schools
Test Used
New Salford Reading Test

Research Date: 2020

Executive Summary

Engaging Eyes is an online intervention for pupils aged 6 years and upward who are struggling to learn to read or to read fluently. It focuses on the visual difficulties experienced by these pupils; the inability to sustain convergence and control eye movements when reading. The intervention significantly improves the control of the eye muscles by the use of computer generated 3D games and eye tracking activities. This requires minimal supervision by a teaching assistant.

In this evaluation, the intervention was intended to be delivered through 10-minute sessions every day over a period of 3 months for Primary pupils (KS1&2). Pupils were eligible if their reading age was at least 12 months behind their chronological age. No other eligibility criteria were applied, for example there was no requirement to suspect the pupil had vision problems, nor was anyone disqualified because they had a vision problem (other than a diagnosed squint). It measured the impact of the study in 3 areas. The first being improvement in reading age, the second improvement in reading speed, and the third being impact on Standardised Scores.

The study took place over one term, finishing at Christmas 2019. This report looks at the impact of this intervention.

This is the second study into the impact of Engaging Eyes. The first was carried out in July 2018, involving 40 pupils. This study has 211 pupils in 40 schools. The study was funded by Dyslexia Gold as part of a study into the impact of the one of the programs that form the Dyslexia Gold Reading Bundle; Engaging Eyes and Fluency Builder.

Key Conclusions

  1. 99% of struggling readers cannot sustain convergence (focus both eyes on the same point for a period of time).
  2. Reading Age improves, on average, by 12 months for Primary (KS1&2).
  3. The Ratio Gain (RG) for Engaging Eyes is 4 for Primary (KS1&2). This means they made 4 months progress for every month played.
  4. 188 Pupils reading speed was measured pre and post intervention. Reading speed increased, on average, by 72% and 60 words per minute.
  5. The intervention is suitable for pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

What impact did it have?

91% of children made progress. 9% made no progress, despite playing a significant number of times.

Of those that did make progress, the RG was ‘Remarkable’ given the short trial period.

Feedback from teaching staff and pupils was positive. The children found the games fun to play. They needed minimal input from teaching staff. Children were motivated to participate and enjoyed the gaming aspect to the intervention.

Improvement in Reading Age after Playing for 3 Months

An average RG of 4 was achieved after playing an average of 45 times. Reading speed improved by 72% or 60 words per minute. Not all pupils completed the post intervention reading speed test.

“Our pupils have enjoyed this program and have been engaged and enthusiastic all the way through. The results show that the pupils have all improved their reading ages and their fluency scores”

Rosie Hemmings, Bollington St John's Primary
Average Improvement: 14 months

"The headline from us is that ALL children made at least double rate of progress. Feedback from the children was largely positive. 'I liked it, it was fun' They liked whack the alien, 'I like playing the real game at the fair' 'I liked how fun it was to get the alien'. "

Kim Exelby, Easingwold CP School
Average Improvement: 16 months

How secure is this finding?

The primary analysis was carried out over a sample of children, from KS1&2. There was no control group to compare the data. 402 children from 49 schools have provided data for this stage of the trial.

Data provided was excluded for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Pupils were not 12 months behind in reading (187 excluded)
  2. Pupils did not more than 30 times (179 excluded)
  3. Pupils who played incorrectly (played Fluency Builder and Engaging Eyes) (9 excluded)

A total of 213 were excluded from the trial due to the above reasons. Some had overlapping reasons.

The feedback from schools was positive. All these pupils had regular attendance, and none were in the early stages of English acquisition. They were all significantly behind in reading, despite the schools’ best efforts including catch-up literacy interventions.

Pupils' reading ages were assess using the New Salford Reading Test at the start and end of the trial. Pupils' reading speeds were assessed using a one minute reading speed test.

Introduction and Methodology

The programs have not changed since the 2018 research. The methodology used for the 2020 research was the same.

Sample Size

402 pupils from 49 schools took part in the trial. There was no control group for this trial.

h2>Outcomes and Analysis

Analysis

The primary aim of the analysis is to assess whether the intervention has had any significant impact on pupils' literacy, as measured by the post-intervention test scores.

The average Ratio Gain using the Reading Age improvement for the 3-month period was 4 for KS1&2.

The range was between 0 months and 34 months.

The secondary aim was to consider the impact of the intervention on reading speed. The average reading speed at the start of the trial was 45 words per minute. Following the intervention, reading speed improved to an average of 60 words per minute, a 72% improvement. Not all children completed the post-trial reading speed test.

Conclusion

Engaging Eyes is a low-cost intervention requiring minimal teaching support. It is designed to be played for a whole year. Children enjoy the games aspect of the intervention and look forward to playing. Progress is linked to the number of times played and, as with all interventions, commitment is needed from the school to run the intervention on a daily basis to make the quickest progress.

Once the intervention is complete, there is no requirement to repeat.

An RG of 4 is achievable over 3 months. It is a suitable intervention for pupils with EAL.

It is not suitable for children with severe SEND needs, such as those unable to work independently for 10 minutes at a computer. However, it is particularly suitable for pupils with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and ASD.

Primary School Pupils

Improved by

an average of 12 months

in 1 term

Secondary School Pupils

Improved by

an average of 10 months

in 1 term


Research Date: 2018

Executive Summary

Engaging Eyes is an online intervention for pupils aged 6 years and upward who are struggling to learn to read or to read fluently. It focuses on the visual difficulties experienced by these pupils; the inability to sustain convergence and control eye movements when reading. The intervention significantly improves the control of the eye muscles by the use of computer generated 3D games and eye tracking activities. This requires minimal supervision by a teaching assistant.

In this evaluation, the intervention was intended to be delivered through 10-minute sessions every day over a period of 3 months for Key Stage 2 pupils (KS2) ages 7-11. Pupils were eligible if their reading age was at least 12 months behind their chronological age. No other eligibility criteria was applied, for example there was no requirement to suspect the pupil had vision problems, nor was anyone disqualified because they had a vision problem.

It measured the impact of the study in 2 areas. The first being improvement in reading age and the second improvement in reading speed.

The study was funded by Dyslexia Gold as part of a wider study into the impact of their three programs; Engaging Eyes, Fluency Builder and Spelling Tutor.

Key Conclusions

  1. 98% of struggling readers cannot sustain convergence (focus both eyes on the same point for a period of time).
  2. Playing Engaging Eyes for 10 or more times improves the average reading speed and reading age of pupils.
  3. The Ratio Gain (RG) for Engaging Eyes is 4.1. This means they made 4.1 months progress for every month played.
  4. Where tested, reading speed increased, on average, by 23% and 22 words per minute.
  5. The intervention is suitable for pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL).
  6. Daily interventions within the school environment need to be prioritised.

What impact did it have?

90% of children made progress. 10% made no progress, despite playing a significant number of times.

Of those that did make progress, the RG was ‘Remarkable’ given the short trial period.

Feedback from teaching staff and pupils was positive. The children found the games fun to play. They needed minimal input from teaching staff. Children were motivated to participate and enjoyed the gaming aspect to the intervention.

An average RG of 4.1 was achieved after playing an average of 22 times. This equates to 3.5 hours of intervention. Reading speed improved by 23% or 22 words per minute. Not all pupils completed the post intervention reading speed test.

“All children have made accelerated progress - some now have a reading age higher than their chronological age.”

Eileen Maceachern, Mile Cross Primary
Average Improvement: 14 months

“Children thoroughly enjoyed the games and programmes”

Lisa Cooke, Mellor Primary
Average Improvement: 14 months

How secure is this finding?

The primary analysis was carried out over a small sample of children, mainly (but not exclusively) in Year 5. There was no control group to compare the data. 40 children from 4 schools were identified to take part in the trial, with all completing it.

The feedback from schools was positive. All these pupils had regular attendance, and none were in the early stages of English acquisition. They were all significantly behind in reading, despite the schools’ best efforts including catch-up literacy interventions.

Pupils' reading ages were assess using the New Salford Reading Test at the start and end of the trial. Pupils' reading speeds were assed using a Dyslexia Gold test.

Introduction

Intervention

Engaging Eyes is an online computer program for pupils from the age of 6 upwards who are struggling to read or to read fluently. The intervention focuses on improving eye control, in particular the ability to sustain convergence and track across the page.

The intervention is in two parts and lasts for 10 minutes. It requires minimal input from teaching staff.

Part 1 – Target Practice

This intervention is a fun 3D shooting game, which is different to traditional reading interventions. Using 3D effects, pupils are asked to line up and shoot at targets on the screen. Wearing the 3D glasses provided, the targets appear to be 3D only if you can focus your eyes on the same point (converge). Practicing convergence everyday improves eyes muscle control, and over time improves your ability to sustain convergence.

Part 2 – Whack an Alien

A key issue for struggling readers with vision problems is the ability to control their eye movements. They make around 1,000 eye movements when reading, compared to around 150 for fluent readers. Whack an Alien practices controlling rapid eye movements (saccades). It improves their ability to move their eyes from the end of one line to the start of the next.

After finishing Whack an Alien, they moved onto eye tracking games to further improve fixations, reduce regressions (eyes moving right to left) and smooth tracking.

Background evidence

In 1994, Eden, Stein, Wood and Wood, compared the differences in eye movements and reading problems in dyslexic and normal children. The project looked at fixation, vergence amplitude, saccade and smooth pursuit. The results were compared to the children’s phonological ability. Dyslexic children had significantly worse eye movement stability during fixation of small targets than normal children. Vergence amplitudes were lower for dyslexics than for controls. A qualitative assessment of saccadic eye movements revealed that dyslexics exhibit fixation instability at the end of saccades. Assessment of smooth pursuit revealed poor smooth pursuit in the dyslexic group, particularly when pursuing a target moving from left to right.

This was further support by research in 2007 in 4 California high schools, Visual skills of poor readers in high school Grisham, Powers and Riles. Visual skills and visual acuity were measured in students identified as poor readers. Here, 80% of the students were found to be inadequate or weak in 1 or more of the following visual skills: binocular fusion ranges at near, accommodative facility, and convergence near point. More students were deficient in binocular fusion range than in either accommodative function or near point of convergence.

This trial found that 98% of struggling readers have issues sustaining convergence (39 out of 40 pupils).

Evaluation objectives

The primary research question was to identify the impact of Engaging Eyes intervention on the reading ability of individual pupils over a 3-month intervention period. Pupils selected for the intervention start receiving the intervention after the Easter break. Their reading age was assessed at the start of the trial and at the end, along with their reading speed. Pupils' literacy skills were measured by performance on the New Salford Reading Test.

Methodology

Design

This was a multicentre trial within schools in England. The trial was designed to involve 4 schools (all KS2). The trial was introduced to the school by the SENCO who shared with the TA how Engaging Eyes works.

Eligibility

Pupils were selected as eligible by the SENCO. The criteria was as follows:

  • A reading age at least 12 months behind their chronological age
  • Does not have a diagnosed squint
  • Regular attendance
  • Not in the early stages of English Acquisition
  • Able to use a computer independently for 10 minutes

The age/year group of the pupils was left to the SENCO to decide.

Intervention

Engaging Eyes is an online vision training program for pupils aged 6 plus who are struggling to read. The intervention requires very little teaching support. Pupils are required to play Engaging Eyes for 10 minutes a day. It is a game-based intervention that they enjoyed and looked forward to playing. It was easy for teaching staff to supervise and monitor.

Outcomes

The primary outcome was reading ability, and this was measured using the New Salford Reading Test. This assessment was selected as it is a reliable and accepted assessment of literacy, with a form A and form B tests. Secondary outcome data was collected by Dyslexia Gold using a reading speed test built into the program. The tests were administered and marked by the school and the data shared with Dyslexia Gold.

Sample Size

40 pupils from 4 schools took part in the trial. There was no control group for this trial.

Analysis

The primary aim of the analysis is to assess whether the Engaging Eyes intervention had a significant impact on pupils' literacy, as measured by the post-intervention test scores and reading speed.

The primary analysis examined the impact on reading age and looked at age and English as a second language. The secondary analysis examined the impact on reading speed, again looking at age and English as a second language.

Outcomes and Analysis

Analysis

The primary aim of the analysis is to assess whether the intervention has had any significant impact on pupils' literacy, as measured by the post-intervention test scores.

The average Ratio Gain using the Reading Age improvement for the 3-month period was 4.1.

The range was between 0 months and 28 months. Only 4 pupils’ reading age did not improve, although teachers did report other improvements, such as improvements in confidence and concentration.

English as an Additional Language

Improvement does not differ significantly between those children who are EAL and those that are not. An average of 9.6 months progress was seen for these children. This gives a ratio gain of 3.2 for 3 months with a range of 0 months and 25 months progress.

The secondary aim was to consider the impact of the intervention on reading speed. The average reading speed at the start of the trial was 91 words per minute, well below the expected Year 5 target of 139. Following the intervention, reading speed improved to an average of 113 words per minute. The average improvement was 22 words per minute, 23% improve. Not all children completed the post-trial reading speed test.

Conclusion

Engaging Eyes is a low-cost intervention requiring minimal teaching support. It is designed to be played for a whole year. Children enjoy the games aspect of the intervention and look forward to playing.Progress is linked to the number of times played and, as with all interventions, commitment is needed from the school to run the intervention on a daily basis to make the quickest progress.

Once the intervention is complete, there is no requirement to repeat.

An RG of 4 is achievable over 3 months. It is a suitable intervention for pupils with EAL.

It is not suitable for children with severe SEND needs, such as those unable to work independently for 10 minutes at a computer. However it is particularly suitable for pupils with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and ASD.

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