Early Education is part of the More Than A Score coalition which is campaigning against the government’s model of baseline assessment in Reception in England.
From September 2021, the reception baseline assessment programmes is administered to 4-year-olds in England in the first few weeks of Reception. It subjects children who are not yet of statutory school age – some barely past their 4th birthday – to assessments in the name of accountability, so that schools can demonstrate the “value” they add between Reception and Year 6. However, the proposed assessments are not a reliable or valid source of data for this purpose, and so will not improve the quality of schools, and will not benefit children – in fact, for many the process could be harmful.
Early years experts agree that:
- the tests are pointless: the concept of basing assessment of such young children on a test is flawed and will not produce valid or reliable data, so cannot provide the intended measure of school effectiveness
- the tests could be damaging: they take up staff time at a crucial moment when children should be settling in; the results will not be used for any kind of formative assessment to aid teaching so they are of no benefit to children, teachers or parents; there is a risk that teachers are influenced by watching how children perform in the tests and that children are labelled early in their school career which could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The More Than A Score campaign gives parents, practitioners and school leaders, press and politicians information about baseline assessment, the problems with the policy, and how to get involved in the campaign for a better way forward.
Today, members of the More Than a Score campaign, including Early Education’s Chief Executive, Beatrice Merrick presented a petition of 112,000 signatures to Downing Street