Campaigners dismiss DfE Baseline research


Campaigners calling for the Reception Baseline Assessment to be scrapped have dismissed DfE research, which claims to show a clear link between children’s test results at the age of four and Key Stage 1 scores.

Department for Education analysis of the Key Stage 1 results of 67,000 pupils that took part in the RBA pilot run by the National Foundation for Educational Research in 2015 has found a clear association between attainment at the age of four and age seven across reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 1.

According to the findings, for every one mark increase in the RBA, the odds of reaching the expected standard in all three teacher assessments at KS1 increased by 10 per cent.

The research compared data from pupils who took part in the previous optional NFER RBA with the same pupils’ data following KS1 assessments.

The DfE report said the analysis showed ‘the difference in RBA mark between the KS1 outcomes is statistically significant for the three assessments we have looked at, and this provides support for the relationship between RBA mark and KS1 result’.

But Gemma Moss on behalf of More Than A Score said, ‘The DfE is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of parents and educators in this report. This data does not demonstrate that RBA could be used for the Government’s intended purpose. It says nothing about whether, technically speaking, testing at four is more suitable as a baseline than testing at KS1; it says nothing about whether the data can be used to differentiate between the role schools might play in fostering children’s progress over time.’

Around 9,400 schools have signed up to take part in the pilot of the RBA this term.

Research from More than A Score highlighted significant opposition among primary head teachers to the RBA – the survey of around 200 primary heads found that 86 per cent of them held negative views about the Baseline.

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