Reception baseline assessment

Information about an assessment for pupils in reception to measure their progress in primary schools.

This page is now outdated. For the latest information on the RBA, please visit the collection page here.


In response to the 2017 primary assessment consultation, the government announced plans to introduce a statutory reception baseline assessment (RBA) in autumn 2020. Due to the challenges faced by schools because of COVID-19, statutory introduction of the RBA has been postponed to autumn 2021. Instead, all schools had the opportunity to sign up to the RBA early adopter year in autumn 2020.

The RBA will be statutory in schools from September 2021. Further information about the RBA can be found in the information leaflet.

What will be assessed

The RBA will be an activity-based assessment of pupils’ starting points in:

  • language, communication and literacy
  • mathematics

The RBA will be a short task-based assessment. Pupils will use practical resources to complete these tasks and teachers will record the results on a laptop, computer or tablet. It will not be used to label or track individual pupils. Schools will be required to carry out the assessment within the first 6 weeks of pupils starting reception. No numerical score will be shared and the data will only be used at the end of year 6 to form the school-level progress measure. However, teachers will receive a series of short, narrative statements that tell them how their pupils performed in the assessment. These can be used to inform teaching within the first term.

Measuring progress

The new assessment will enable us to create school-level progress measures for primary schools which show the progress pupils make from reception until the end of key stage 2 (KS2). Unlike the current progress measure, this will give schools credit for the important work they do with their pupils between reception and year 2.

We will publish these measures for all-through primaries in the summer of 2028 for the first time. This will be when those pupils who entered reception in autumn 2021 reach the end of KS2.

Assessment development process

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has been contracted by STA to develop and deliver the assessment. This includes the trial, pilot, and early adopter phases.

The assessment was trialled in a nationally representative sample of schools between September and November 2018. This was followed by a large-scale, voluntary national pilot, which commenced in September 2019. Schools could also choose to participate in the RBA early adopter year in autumn 2020.

Reception baseline and end of key stage 1 assessments

The existing statutory end of key stage 1 (KS1) assessments - both national curriculum tests and teacher assessments - will become optional (that is, non-statutory) once the reception baseline is fully established.

Reception baseline assessment framework

The RBA assessment framework provides an overview of what the assessment is and how it will be carried out.

Reception baseline assessment equality impact assessment

The RBA equality impact assessment provides an assessment of the potential impact of the RBA on pupils with protected characteristics.

Reception baseline assessment privacy notices

The RBA privacy notices explain what personal data is collected and how this is processed.

Reception baseline assessment validity report

The RBA validity report provides the evidence gathered throughout the process of developing the RBA to support the validity argument of the assessment.

Early adopter year

Schools that opted to take part in the early adopter year of the RBA in autumn 2020 had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the RBA and training materials, ahead of the planned statutory roll out in autumn 2021. Participation was optional, even after signing up. Early adopter schools received assessment materials before the October 2020 half term, and the optional assessment window opened for 6-weeks after the October half term.

During the summer term 2020, 3,878 schools signed up to receive materials for the early adopter year. In the autumn, a total of 2,980 schools logged into the Baseline ePortal (BeP) and 2,731 carried out assessments with their pupils. In total, 88,947 pupils completed the assessment.

Data gathered from the early adopter year will not be used for the purpose of creating a progress measure, and the full privacy notice is available on the NFER website.

Further information

If you have any questions, please contact the reception baseline assessment helpline on 0330 088 4171 or email

Published 11 April 2018
Last updated 16 May 2022 + show all updates
  1. This page is outdated. For current information, visit the RBA collection page here:

  2. Updated for the introduction of the 2021 reception baseline assessment.

  3. Updated as early adopter applications for the reception baseline assessment has closed. The statutory introduction of the RBA remains postponed to autumn 2021.

  4. Updated to reflect Reception baseline assessment changes due to Covid-19

  5. Recruitment window now open

  6. First published.