Latest News

DfE publishes their response to the consultation on primary assessment in England

15 September 2017

Yesterday the Department for Education (DfE) published their response to the consultation on primary assessment in England.

This focus on resolving some of the current challenges in the system is very welcome, and many of the decisions align with our own submission to the consultation in June 2017. Perhaps the most notable of the decisions is the introduction of a new baseline reception assessment.

We agree that measuring progress is a better way to understand the contribution that schools make (rather than pure attainment) and indeed this was also a point of view supported by almost 90% of the teachers who completed our Teacher Omnibus survey in May 2017. We also agree that this can be well supported by a baseline assessment in reception. Our Head of Centre for Assessment Research and Product Development, Catherine Kirkup, wrote on this subject recently for the Chartered College of Teaching and you can read her article Using School Entry Assessments Well here.

Measuring progress across the whole of the primary phases ensures schools are credited with all the progress made from Reception to year 6 but the characteristics of the assessments used to do this are critical. They must be reliable, valid and manageable standardised assessments designed specifically for the purpose for which they are going to be used. It is good to see, therefore, that the DfE do not intend this to be an observational assessment and that it should be teacher-mediated.

The fact that the withdrawal of SATs for 7 year olds is dependent on the successful introduction of this new baseline measure is understandable, and we hope will contribute to a smooth transition to the new accountability model.

You can find the results from our Teacher Omnibus Survey on baseline assessment, May 2017 here.

You can read the full NFER submission to the DfE consultation on primary assessment in England here.

You can find the full response from the DfE to their consultation on primary assessment in England here