EYFS Baseline Assessment
The idea of testing children in their first term of Reception may seem, to most, rather unnecessary. Though the reasoning behind this is so that their progress throughout school can be easily measured and more accurately tracked; the tests will also help teachers identify which children are likely to need the most help.
The government justify these tests so early on in a child’s education by saying that the pupils will receive the specialist attention they deserve and therefore increase their quality of learning all the way through school.
It is important to remember that children are already assessed when they start school, although the baseline assessment tests are likely to be more formal and will take place within the first few weeks of starting school.
When is this going to start?
National testing for Reception aged children in England, also known as Baseline Assessment Tests, will be introduced from September 2016, although schools can opt to use the approved baseline assessments any time until then.
If a setting does choose to start using one of the new Reception baseline tests now, they would also have continue with the EYFS Profile as this will still remain statutory until September 2016 when it will be replaced by the new tests.
What will the tests be like?
The way the tests are carried out will be flexible and the primary school will be able to choose from a number of approved assessments. One option will be assessment-based where the teacher makes observations of children’s skill sets within the normal day-to-day routine; this has been designed this way so that the children shouldn’t know that they are being tested.
Other schools have opted for a more formal approach, where children will be tested by their teacher on a one-to-one basis; this test will purely focus on the very basics of learning such as counting, number and letter recognition and identifying pictures. Children will work through these various activities and it will take around 30 minutes while the teacher logs the findings.
The reaction to the new way of testing
The idea of testing children certainly hasn’t pleased the majority of parents; the argument being that starting school should be all about making new friends, settling in to a new environment and building on their own independence.
There is also the factor that summer-born children are almost a whole year younger than autumn born children and yet they are going to be assessed the same, which has obviously caused some concerns!
However, at the moment the majority of primary schools who have signed up for the tests have opted for the observation method of assessment rather than one-to-one testing, meaning for most children these baselines assessments will go unnoticed.
For more information about Reception baseline assessment and a guide to signing up your school please click here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reception-baseline-assessment-guide-to-signing-up-your-school