Commenting on the Department for Education’s confirmation that the Reception Baseline Assessment will replace SATs in Year 2 from September 2020, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The announcement that Reception Baseline Assessment will be made compulsory in September is predictable but not welcome. 

The DfE has satisfied itself about the technical validity of the tests, but is completely incurious about the effects of Baseline Assessment on the educational experience of four year-olds. Nor have they offered any assessment of the workload impact on teachers of carrying out a test with no useful outcomes for pupils' immediate learning, meaning that they must then carry out their own expert assessments.

“Academic researchers have repeatedly raised questions about the effects of testing on children’s settling-in period in reception and on the psychological impact of testing on some young children.  A UCL study commissioned by NEU and published yesterday, demonstrates this very clearly. Teachers have contrasted the tick box nature of the new tests, with the professional knowledge needed to make in-depth observations of children’s development.

“Schools do not need new national tests; raising the quality of primary education requires a new approach to assessment, that supports children in their learning, rather than producing data for the purposes of accountability.”

Editor’s Note

  1. “I can’t read... I don’t know... I can’t do it... What does that mean? When can I go? Can I play yet?” - Research into the 2019 Pilot of Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA).  UCL Institute of Education. (by Guy Roberts-Holmes, Siew Fung Lee, Diana Sousa, Emma Jones), published today.