NFER response to DfE statement on reception baseline assessment

8 April 2016

Following the Department for Education’s (DfE) announcement that they are to continue to fund baseline assessments in the 2016–2017 academic year, schools can continue to use NFER’s Reception Baseline Assessment in September 2016.

While the assessment will not be used by the DfE as a starting point to measure pupils’ progress, NFER believes that assessment is an integral part of effective teaching and learning. The NFER Reception Baseline Assessment is a robust assessment thoroughly tested with 500 schools and 3000 pupils and feedback from 2015 users has been extremely positive. The task-based approach was found to be child-friendly, manageable and particularly useful for identifying individual pupil strengths and weaknesses and for informing planning.

We have made several enhancements to the reports for 2016. For example, in addition to the information provided in 2015, we will also report how the assessment provides evidence against the Early Years Outcomes statements for each child.

The NFER Reception Baseline Assessment is an interactive task-based assessment, incorporating practical child-friendly resources. We have consistently received very positive feedback on our baseline assessment. We recently asked practitioners who used the NFER Reception Baseline Assessment in 2015 to tell us what they think. Below are some of the key findings from the survey:

  1. 84% thought that our task-based approach to assessment was good or very good
  2. 89% said it was useful or very useful for identifying individual pupil strengths and weaknesses
  3. 98% said most children completed tasks appropriate to their own level of development.

Catherine Kirkup, Research Director in NFER’s Centre for Assessment, commented: “We firmly believe that NFER’s task-based approach is the most appropriate choice for schools.  Our Reception Baseline Assessment is easy to use and provides accurate and consistent outcomes. It provides a snapshot of children’s starting points at the beginning of Reception and enables teachers to tailor support to each child’s needs.”


For further information please telephone Jane Parrack or Pippa Cox at NFER on 01753 637245 or 01753 637177

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