Primary children answering questions

Reception Baseline Assessment

When 4- & 5-year-olds should be settling into school, they are unnecessarily tested.

Children will be tested on English and Maths when they enter Reception to gain a 'baseline assessment'. The scores will be compared to their Key Stage 2 SATs, holding schools to account on the progress children have made.

A survey of reception teachers conducted by Teacher Tapp for MTAS shows that Baseline has gone down in schools like a lead balloon. 88% thought Baseline was a waste of teacher time. Just 1% thought it was a positive experience for children.

Our members comments support these findings:

"I feel my time is better spent in direct activities with the children where I can get to know the children and make early judgements about their strengths."

"I could clearly see that most children were not ready to sit at a table with no peer support, no stimulating resources, no reason for the questions."

"The amount of cover needed is ridiculous, leaving my class with TAs from KS2 etc."

"Some did a lot of shrugging and said 'I don't know' a lot."

"Beginner EAL children were very willing and able to answer as best they could in their home language, but they got zero points and lots of confusion and stress."

Academic research commissioned by the NEU has shown that the 2019 pilot of Baseline added to teachers' workload, disrupted children's settling in period at their new school, and in some cases added to the stress they felt. The British Educational Research Association has questioned the validity of the test as a measure of children's learning.

Research for More Than A Score found only 8 per cent of parents strongly supported Baseline, while two-thirds of head teachers opposed it.

Small child doing homework with a pencil

Primary and early years assessment

There is now more primary and early years assessment than ever. English children are among the most tested in the world.

Find out more
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