Data shows baseline tests are 'appropriate', says DfE

Baseline assessment will provide a 'strong foundation' from which to measure pupil progress, says minister Nick Gibb

Mark Smulian

Data shows that the controversial Reception baseline assessment is 'appropriate', says the Department for Education

The Department for Education has said it has data to show that the controversial Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) would provide “a reliable point from which to measure pupils’ progress during primary school”.

It said an analysis of scores showed that children’s chances of reaching the expected standard in key stage 1 assessments increased with their RBA mark and added that this demonstrates the baseline assessment’s validity as an "appropriate starting point to measure pupil progress”.

The analysis comes after a study earlier this month by Dr Alice Bradbury, of UCL Institute of Education, titled "Inappropriate, unnecessary, unhelpful: The headteachers’ verdict on baseline assessment", which said that 86 per cent of primary school teachers surveyed had negative or qualified views of the tests.

Need to know: Reception baseline assessment

Quick link: Baseline assessments dropped as accountability measures in major DfE U-turn

Research: Primary heads condemn baseline tests as ‘utter madness’

The DfE said almost 9,500 schools would pilot the test this year.

An earlier attempt at introducing three baseline assessments was made in September 2015 but the test was abandoned in April 2016 due to concerns about comparability between the different approved assessments.

Reception baseline assessment controversy

Now the DfE has compared data from pupils who took part in the 2015 pilot with their later KS1 assessments. The analysis shows that for every one mark increase in the RBA, the odds of reaching the expected standard in all three teacher assessments at KS1 increased by 10 per cent.

For the individual tests, the chance of meeting the expected standard rose by 11 per cent for reading and mathematics and 10 per cent for writing.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “The baseline assessment will be a quick check of a child’s early language and maths skills, but, more importantly, it will be a check of our school system.

“It will also mean the end of burdensome Key Stage 1 tests, and give teachers more valuable one-to-one time with their pupils in their first weeks of school.”

He said the RBA would “provide a strong foundation from which we can measure pupil progress”.


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Mark Smulian

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