NFER Reception Baseline Assessment
The practical, child-friendly baseline assessment
Information for Parents
On 7 April 2016, the DfE announced that they will no longer use baseline assessments as a starting point for measuring pupil progress. They will however reimburse local authority maintained schools for the cost of the assessment and schools will have the option to use a baseline assessment for children entering Reception. The baseline assessment will provide a starting point for schools to show the progress that your child makes throughout the primary school years. It will also help them get to know your child better, understanding strengths and weaknesses so that they tailor support to your child's needs going forward. Schools can choose from a range of approved providers. NFER is an approved provider and we have developed a set of fun and practical tasks as part of our Reception Baseline Assessment.
What does the NFER Reception Baseline Assessment look like?
The NFER Reception Baseline Assessment is child-centred and hands-on. It does not look at all like a conventional ‘test’. There are a set of maths activities that use objects (ideal for your child to handle and explore) to look at early number and shape skills. There are also a set of literacy (English) activities, which include colourful pictures of familiar scenes. This gives your child a context for sound recognition and vocabulary tasks. Teachers will also complete a checklist based on their observations of your child as they interact with others and explore their new environment.
What will my child have to do?
The NFER Reception Baseline Assessment is designed so that it is engaging for your child (they probably won’t even realise that they’re being assessed). Your child will complete the activities on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The activities are designed so that they don’t have to try anything that is too hard. When we were trialling the activities, teachers really appreciated having this one-to-one time to get to know the children. The practical resources mean that teachers can interact far more with the children compared to an onscreen assessment or the pupils having to sit a ‘paper’ test. It will take around 15 minutes to complete the maths tasks and 15 minutes for the literacy tasks, so it won’t take long and your child won’t have to concentrate for long periods of time.
When will my child be assessed?
The baseline should take place during the first half term in which your child enters Reception. At some point during those 6-8 weeks, your child will work with their teacher to do the activities on a one-to-one basis.
What can I do?
The NFER Reception Baseline is designed to be carried out by teachers and teaching assistants in school. The activities cover the range of skills that teachers would have been assessing anyway as they get to know the children, so your child does not need any special preparation prior to the assessment.
What does the baseline assessment mean for my child?
The baseline assessment provides a snapshot of your child’s starting point in school which will feed into their future learning and the progress that they make.
Will I get feedback?
Schools will choose the best way to feed back to parents. NFER will be supporting them in ensuring that they have the information that they need to do this.