Education Select Committee primary assessment inquiry: NFER response

28 October 2016

National curriculum assessments (better knows as SATs) have been subject to several changes since they were introduced in 1991. In 2016, new tests were introduced in Key Stage 1 and 2 to reflect the more rigorous national curriculum, first taught in September 2014. The reforms included new content and the removal of national curriculum levels.

In September 2016, the House of Commons Education Committee launched an inquiry into primary assessment. It invited written submissions addressing the following topics:

  • The purpose of primary assessment and how well the current system meets this
  • The advantages and disadvantages of assessing pupils at primary school
  • How the most recent reforms have affected teaching and learning
  • Logistics and delivery of the SATs
  • Training and support needed for teachers and senior leaders to design and implement effective assessment systems
  • Next steps following the most recent reforms to primary assessment

NFER submitted a response to the consultation that principally addressed the first five topics and also recommended that a robust evaluation be undertaken to assess the impact of the recent reforms on teaching and learning and that an approach should be agreed to implementing future changes that takes into account of the needs and planning timescales of schools. Research Director Catherine Kirkup was subsequently called to give oral evidence in January 2017.

Following this session, and at the request of the committee, NFER submitted to the inquiry a short paper summarising its views on a future Reception Baseline Assessment.

Video of Catherine Kirkup's appearance at the Education Select Committee - Wednesday 18 January 2017

Transcript of oral evidence given by Catherine Kirkup and other witnesses on 18 January 2017