Not a question of passing or failing

3rd July 1998 at 01:00
No child entering school in September can either pass or fail a baseline assessment. It is not a test. Using the assessment, as is intended, as a diagnostic tool, will enable reception teachers to discover quite quickly where the child's strengths and weaknesses are to be found.

The assessment is centred on the activities in which experiences are needed which will eventually lead to preparation for level 1 requirements in the national curriculum core subjects.

Children could not fail or even pass but merely reflect some of the experiences they bring from home. The information acquired from the assessment can only benefit children and teachers alike. The only "health warning" might be to prevent parents from being panicked into purchasing any pre-school packs devised by unscrupulous publishers. The best preparation from home is affection and stimulation.

Dr Julia Matthews. Honorary research associate University of Greenwich

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