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Government publishes outcome of primary assessment consultation in England

The Department for Education (DfE) has today published the outcome of the consultation on Primary Assessment. In it, DfE states, among other things, that it intends to develop a new Baseline Assessment for the reception year and that the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has been chosen to create and deliver this new assessment, ready for introduction by autumn 2020.
The consultation sought views on a number of key proposals about the future of the statutory primary assessment system including: 
  • the best starting point to measure the progress that pupils make at primary school
  • the role and operation of teacher assessment
  • how to build on the strengths of the early years foundation stage profile
  • how we can support and improve end-of-key-stage teacher assessment, including the assessment of writing

After publishing the results and under the early years foundation stage and profile, the government commitments include:

  • Retaining the EYFS’s early learning goals (ELGs) but working with the sector to make them clearer, and bring them in line with key stage 1
  • Exploring the feasibility of reducing the number of ELGs assessed and reported upon at the end of reception year
  • continue to use the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) to assess each child’s individual progress and development throughout the reception year
  • exploring ways in which online tools can be used to collect and share evidence, thus reducing burdens and releasing capacity for teachers
  • reviewing guidance relating to the moderation of the EYFSP to ensure that it better supports those involved in the moderation process to make professional judgments
  • Introducing a new Baseline Assessment in reception, the data from which would be used to assess a child’s progress seven years later, as part of ensuring school’s accountability.
PACEY was one of the organisations that responded to the consultation and you can read our full response here.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) comments:

“PACEY is disappointed the Department for Education (DfE) has decided to move forward with a new version of its proposed Baseline Assessment (BA), despite our and many others repeated calls for this proposal to be abandoned. The arguments against baseline assessment are numerous - it is unreliable, it distracts teachers from settling children into their reception year – whilst the arguments for it are limited. Holding schools to account is important but collecting unreliable data on four-year-olds that is then reviewed seven years later is not the way to do it.

“No matter how much the DfE has responded to our and others’ concerns, by stating it will ensure the new BA is focussed only on literacy and numeracy and, perhaps self-regulation; it remains a flawed concept and one PACEY cannot support.”

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UPDATE: 5 June 2018

Government has published a leaflet on 'Reception baseline assessment: what schools need to know' detailing why the assessment is being introduced, what it will look like, how results will be used and the development process towards national rollout in 2020. 

UPDATE: 11 July 2018

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has revealed that the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) will focus on children's early literacy and mathematics skills as these are good indicators of how children do later on in school.