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NFER chosen to deliver baseline assessment

By Rachel Lawler

Child uses tablet, Baseline tests - National Foundation for Educational Research
The government has appointed National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to design and deliver baseline assessment tests for reception children in England.
 
In September 2017, the government announced that it was planning to introduce a statutory assessment in autumn 2020.
 
The assessment will be administered by schools soon after children start reception to allow schools to measure progress from the start of reception until the end of primary school.
 
National Foundation for Educational Research
The Department for Education has appointed NFER to deliver this reception baseline assessment, including through the trial and pilot phases which are due to start in September 2018.
 
The government is planning to spend £10 million introducing the tests, which will see four-year-olds undertake a one-to-one test in their first six weeks of school.
 
Pressure on children
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “The simple fact is that no test-condition assessment can be designed well enough to reflect the complexities and variation of a child in reception.
 
“A baseline test, conducted on a tablet and before a teacher has had a chance to develop a relationship with the child, won’t tell teachers anything about the children they work with and won’t be of any use to parents. Instead, what it will do is pile pressure on to our very youngest children: from those forced to sit an exam at the tender age of four to those in settings under pressure to get pre-schoolers ‘test ready’.
 
“Ministers’ determination to see this through would be admirable were it not so wrong-headed. This policy has failed twice before and there must be very few parents, teachers or academics who believe this time will be any different. The fact that some of the companies involved in the last abandoned attempt to introduce baseline ruled themselves out of contention completely this time around speaks volumes.”
 
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