The Department for Education does not intend to change its policy on the reception baseline in response to the British Educational Research Association’s report.
The new baseline is being developed by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), an organisation with a proven and respected track record of developing assessments.
The proposal to introduce the new baseline was set out in our 2017 public consultation on the future of the primary assessment system in England and drew support from a majority of respondents. Those responding in favour included the National Association of Head Teachers and the Association of School and College Leaders. Their responses were on the basis that the introduction of the new baseline will make it possible for statutory end of key stage 1 assessments to be removed, thereby making the primary assessment system more proportionate.
All aspects of the development of the new baseline will be informed by an extensive evidence base of research into the assessment of pupils in the early years. NFER will collect further evidence during the trial and pilot phases to inform the department’s decision-making. This will ensure that the reception baseline is robust. It will also ensure that the data collected is sufficiently valid and reliable for the purposes of creating a new value-added progress measure. This progress measure will recognise the progress that schools make with all their pupils, regardless of the pupils’ background, throughout their time at primary school.