Baseline Assessment

Baseline Assessment scores the performance of children within a few weeks of them starting school in reception. It focuses on a child’s literacy and numeracy.

Baseline Assessment was initially intended to generate a ‘baseline’ against which to measure progress to Key Stage One and Two for the purposes of school and teacher accountability. However, following a campaign by the Union and other primary and early years organisations this idea was dropped by the Government in April 2016.

baseline assessment

Bye Bye Baseline!

Bye Bye Baseline!

Baseline Assessment will not be used for school accountability purposes, the DfE have announced. This is a victory for the campaign which the Union, along with the ATL and ‘Better without Baseline’, has organised over the last 12 months.

A DfE commissioned comparability study into the different Baseline Assessment providers has concluded that the differences between providers are too great for Baseline Assessment to provide any meaningful measure of a child’s progress through their primary education.

Don’t opt in for 2016

The private companies which sold Baseline Assessment systems to schools are now trying to persuade teachers to carry on using their tests and observation schedules, on a voluntary basis.

There is no good reason for schools‎ to do this.

Research from the UCL Institute of Education, commissioned by the NUT and ATL, showed that over 90 per cent of teachers did not think Baseline Assessment was a fair and accurate way of assessing children.

We have produced a template letter that can be sent to schools, headteachers and governors asking them not to opt in to Baseline Assessment in 2016. We are calling on local associations and divisions to resolve to ask all schools in their area not to participate in Baseline Assessment.

A new assessment shouldn’t repeat Baseline’s mistakes

We note the DfE will 'now be considering options for improving assessment arrangements', on the basis of discussion with 'stakeholders'. The Union and the Better without Baseline coalition welcome the opportunity to participate in such discussions.

The Union believe strongly developing forms of assessment that support children's learning needs. Baseline Assessment, with its focus in school accountability, was an entirely inappropriate means of doing this, and the confusion of accountability and assessment must not be repeated.

Schools already have available a well-proven method of assessing young children's development, the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, and ‎teachers will be looking to build on this.

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