Press release

Reception baseline comparability study published

Reception baseline assessment will not be used as a starting point to measure pupil progress following a comparability study.

The Department for Education has today (7 April 2016) published the results of a study that compares the 3 reception baseline assessments used by schools in the 2015 to 2016 academic year.

The introduction of the reception baseline assessment from 2015 was announced in March 2014 as a new way of measuring primary schools’ progress. Schools have been able to choose from 3 providers to suit their wider approach to assessment and the results were intended to be used to measure the progress schools make with their pupils from reception year to the end of key stage 2 (KS2) in 2022.

The study concludes that the 3 different assessments are not sufficiently comparable to create a fair starting point from which to measure pupils’ progress. As a result, the results cannot be used as the baseline for progress measures, as it would be inappropriate and unfair to schools.

Key stage 1 (KS1) will continue to be used as the starting point from which to measure this year’s reception pupils’ progress to KS2. We remain committed to measuring the progress of pupils through primary school and will continue to look at the best way to assess pupils in the early years.

Schools will have the option to continue to use the baseline assessments in the 2016 to 2017 academic year, should they wish to sign up for reception baseline as part of their on-entry assessment of pupils. The outcomes from the assessments will not be used for accountability.

Assessment is a key part of the education system and remains crucial to ensuring that every child fulfils their potential. Over the coming months we will be considering options for improving assessment arrangements in reception beyond 2016 to 2017 and will make an announcement in due course.

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