Over 9,600 primary schools have registered to take part in the pilot of the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA), the new 20-minute check that will provide a snapshot of pupils’ development when they start school.
The assessment will enable the removal of Key Stage 1 tests that currently take place at the end of year 2, reducing overall workload for schools. The change will also mean schools are recognised for the work they do throughout the whole of primary school rather just between years 2 and 6, as is currently the case.
Over half of eligible primaries will take part in the pilot, which will run this September and enable schools to familiarise themselves with the assessment before providing feedback to the Department for Education, ahead of the national roll out in 2020.
The assessment has been designed to reflect those that most schools already carry out in reception. It will take roughly 20 minutes, be carried out during one-to-one time with pupils, and does not have a pass mark.
Schools will not receive individual scores for the assessment, instead getting a series of short, narrative statements that will say how each child performed, which they can use for informing teaching in the first term.
There is no reason for parents or teachers to prepare children ahead of the assessment. As such, carried out in the right way, children should not be aware an assessment is taking place. Progress data will be shared with schools following children’s completion of Key Stage 2 tests at the end of primary school, preventing labelling or grouping of pupils.
Children will be assessed orally through simple, practical tasks which could include counting or describing pictures, activities that are broadly consistent with the types of things that take place in reception classrooms already, and some of which parents already teach their children at home.
Pilots will take place from September, in the first half term of the new academic year. Following feedback from schools, the RBA is scheduled to be rolled out across England from September 2020.