Baseline Testing and Bold Beginnings

2 April 2018

Commenting after the debate on Motion 47, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT section of the National Education Union, said:

“Assessment is not new in reception classes. However, the baseline test expects teachers to predict what a four-year-old child in their first few weeks at school will achieve in their SATs tests at the age of 11. Test results then become the baseline against which to measure the child’s progress, and the school’s supposed effectiveness in supporting pupil attainment.

“Baseline will narrow the curriculum to what can be tested, denying children the rich learning experience they need to flourish. To add insult to injury baseline will also cost the taxpayer £10m to implement.

“Building a whole edifice of accountability according to test results obtained from four-year olds who have just started school in a new and unfamiliar setting is clearly flawed. Teachers should be focusing on the social and emotional wellbeing of children in their first few weeks at school, not testing them on a narrow range of skills.

“The NEU as part of the More Than a Score coalition supports the call for these tests to be scrapped and replaced with professional judgement and observation over time, taking into account the insights of parents. Children really are more than a score. Testing them at every step of their education is extraordinarily counterproductive to their confidence and emotional wellbeing.”

“The Union is committed to a major campaign to stop Baseline Assessment. It will encourage schools not to take part in the voluntary pilot of Baseline Assessment in September 2019 – and will work with others throughout the world of education to do so.”

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