We have launched a petition on Change.org to call for government to rethink the introduction of Baseline Assessment from September 2015.
DfE are due to announce the approved list of providers for Baseline Assessment at the end of January, at a cost to taxpayers of up to £4m, but there is still time for a rethink.
The proposals for baseline assessment programmes to be administered to 4 year olds in the first few weeks of Reception would subject 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 specification for the assessments is flawed and will not produce valid or reliable data, so cannot provide the intended measure of school effectiveness
- time spent on the assessments will hinder children's settling in at the start of their primary education. For a typical class of 30, a week of a teacher's time could be spent administering assessments instead of supporting children.
- children who perform less well on assessments will be stigmatised and labelled as failing at the start of school, because the tests will not be age-adjusted or reflect that children's development is not linear, and will therefore discriminate against, among others, summer born children, boys, children with special educational needs. This will damage the relationship between the school and parents at a crucial early stage, with further harmful effect on the child's education.
TACTYC have provided a detailed summary of the problems with the proposals.
We call on all members to sign the petition. Please also ask parents and your local parliamentary candidates to sign up too.