Here at Beanstack, we’re committed to motivating students to form healthy reading habits and giving educators tools to ensure accuracy and accountability in students’ reading logs. We think critically about how to uphold reading integrity and decrease instances of fraudulent logging, while still maintaining the fun and joy in reading. We ask questions, assess reading data, and put our learnings into action by developing impactful reading integrity features that don’t compromise students’ reading independence.
The Data Behind Fraudulent Logging
When analyzing data for school Beanstack sites during the 2021-22 school year, we discovered that 0.8% of all student readers across the platform created a fraudulent log, which we defined as logging over the school’s customizable logging limit in a single day. Every school’s warning level and limit vary widely, with some set at less than an hour of reading a day. This means that many true reading logs, where realistic amounts of reading were added, were captured in our conservative analysis.
Fraudulent logging occurred at 33% of Beanstack school sites. And out of those schools, more than half had fewer than 5 cases of fraudulent logging, entered by less than 3 students during the whole school year. Most of these students add fraudulent logs during a single day.
Inflated or dishonest independent reading can happen no matter how students record their reading. Paper reading logs, online quizzes on platforms like Accelerated Reader, and even basic verification questions can be gamed. Technology solutions can never fully replace teachers, librarians, and other school staff members’ critical role in interacting with students and encouraging the values of honesty and accountability in self-reported assignments—but we can provide tools that empower educators by increasing transparency, easing their workload, and reducing the opportunities for fraudulent logging.
Our Reading Integrity Solution
Our built-in reading integrity tools increase schools’ confidence in their results without diminishing reading independence, a crucial building block on the way to creating lifelong readers. And, knowing that each community is different, we offer multiple levels of verification and validation to suit every school’s unique needs.
Every school site can set its own custom logging warning levels and limits from right within their admin dashboard. When students input reading that surpasses their site’s logging warning level, they see a message asking them to check a box promising that it’s true and accurate before saving. That entry is then flagged for their teachers and administrators to review, both on the admin-view of their log and within a flagged entries report that can be viewed on-demand or scheduled on a recurring basis for busy educators. Flagged entries, just like any entry, can be edited at any time by students, parents, teachers, or school administrators.
Schools can also prevent readers from logging more than a set amount of reading with a logging limit. When students try to save a reading session that surpasses that limit, they’re informed that they can’t log this amount of reading, and must edit their entered reading to be below the limit to save.
Reading challenges in Beanstack can also incorporate activities and book reviews as another verification component. Activities are fully customizable, so educators can use them to ask basic verification questions, check reading comprehension, or answer other specific reading prompts. Book reviews ask readers to provide a summary of the book they read, and can require a minimum character count to ensure they write out a full response. After students submit their responses, teachers or librarians can check their answers and approve or reject their reviews.
We also offer reading validation challenges as an additional way to uphold reading integrity. These reading challenges ask students short and simple reading verification questions with fill-in-the-blank answers when they complete one of our 2,000+ supported titles. Smart artificial intelligence assesses their responses against the correct answers, taking into account typos and common variations on the answer. Students must answer at least 50% of the questions correctly in order to save their log, and teachers and librarians get full visibility of their responses.
Our team is always working to make Beanstack better for its users, and that includes digging into hard questions, openly sharing our data, and giving progress updates on our solutions. We’re continuing to analyze reading integrity issues and introduce new solutions to better serve students, teachers, school districts, and whole communities. We’d love to hear from you about your experience using Beanstack to instill honest reading habits and your ideas for future product development. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not a Beanstack partner, but interested in our reading motivation and integrity solutions? Get in touch today!