Reception baseline assessment


The reception baseline assessment is being introduced to schools in autumn 2021. It is a short activity-based assessment of pupils’ early mathematics, literacy, communication and language skills to gauge where pupils are at the start of reception.

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has published an information booklet for teachers about the assessment. 

It explains, the reception baselines assessment will provide a snapshot of where pupils are when they arrive at school, establishing a new starting point to measure the progress that they make by the end of year 6. It will also enable for the removal of statutory end-of-key stage 1 national curriculum tests and teachers assessments.

What will the reception baseline assessment look like?

The STA explains the assessment will be short (the majority take less than 20 minutes to administer), interactive and practical, covering early mathematics, language, communication and literacy. 

Pupils will use practical resources to complete the tasks and teachers will record the results on a laptop, computer or tablet.

There will be no need for pupils to prepare for the assessment, either in a pre-school setting, or at home, and in most cases pupils should not be aware that they are being assessed.

Teachers, or teaching assistants, will be able to administer the assessment in normal teaching time, recording the outcomes digitally. It should sit alongside the important activity that takes place during the first term of reception.

What will happen with the results of the reception baseline assessment?

Pupils will not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ the assessment.

It will provide a snapshot of where they are when they start school in the reception year. The results of the assessment will not be used by the government to track or label individual pupils, or to judge the performance of early years settings.

The STA will use the data from the assessment to create a baseline for school-level progress measures for primary schools. This will show the progress pupils make from reception until the end of key stage 2 in year 6. 

It will publish these new measures for the first time in the summer of 2028, when the pupils who enter reception in autumn 2021 take the key stage 2 tests at the end of year 6.

What will happen if a child cannot access the assessment?

The STA has produced an information booklet for parents about the assessment. It explains:

Your child will answer questions verbally or by pointing at or moving objects. The assessment has been designed to ensure that it is inclusive and accessible to as many children as possible, including those with special educational needs or disability (SEND) or English as an additional language (EAL).

The teacher can pause the assessment at any time if your child needs a break. There are also modified materials available for children with visual and hearing impairments.   

More information

If you have any questions about administering the new reception baseline assessment, then please contact the helpline on 0330 088 4171 or email [email protected]

The STA has also published a video about the assessment and additional materials including the assessment and reporting arrangements.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and have been alleged of misconduct when administering assessments you can contact us for support and advice.

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