Reception baseline assessment

Information about the development of an assessment for pupils in reception to measure their progress in primary schools from 2020.


In response to the 2017 primary assessment consultation, the government announced plans to introduce a statutory reception baseline assessment in autumn 2020.

We will use it as the baseline for measuring the progress primary schools make with their pupils.

What will be assessed?

Schools will administer the assessment soon after pupils enter reception. It will be an activity-based assessment of pupils’ ability in:

  • communication, language and literacy
  • early mathematics skills

We are also exploring whether self-regulation can form part of the assessment.

The assessment will be age appropriate, last 20 minutes and teachers will record the results. It will not be used to judge, label or track individual pupils.

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).

We will publish these measures for all-through primaries in the summer of 2027 for the first time. This will be when those pupils who entered reception in autumn 2020 reach the end of key stage 2.

Assessment development process

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is the preferred supplier to develop and deliver the new assessment. This includes the trial and pilot phases and the first 2 years of statutory delivery.

Date Activity
11 April 2018 Announcement of preferred bidder
September 2018 Trialling in a nationally representative selection of schools
September 2019 Large scale voluntary pilot
September 2020 National roll-out
September 2023 Key stage 1 assessment becomes non-statutory
September 2027 First progress scores published

How schools can get involved

We will select a nationally representative sample of schools to trial the assessment in the 2018 to 2019 academic year.

Any school with a reception cohort will be able to participate in the large-scale voluntary pilot in the 2019 to 2020 academic year.

Reception baseline and key stage 1 assessments

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

The earliest this can happen is from the 2022 to 2023 academic year onwards. This is when the first cohort of pupils who have taken part in the pilot of the new baseline assessment will have reached the end of KS1.

Standards and Testing Agency

For general enquiries about national curriculum tests.

Published 11 April 2018