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Will my child’s school offer the baseline assessment?If you already have a child in Ofsted-registered childcare or at primary school, you’ll probably be familiar with the Early Years Foundation Stage profile (EYFS profile). The EYFS profile helps your childcare provider or teacher to work out your child’s likes and dislikes, skills and areas of development. There is no score.
Your childcare provider or teacher will watch your child as he plays with his friends, and joins in with activities and games. The information is used to help support your child as he continues from reception into year 1 and year 2.
From 2016, primary schools in England may offer an alternative method of assessment, called the reception baseline assessment.
The reception baseline assessment has been offered to schools as an optional test to measure your child’s progress from when he first starts primary school in reception until the age of 11.
It’s difficult to say whether your child’s school will offer the reception baseline assessment or not, since it’s not a mandatory test. It’s possible that some schools may use a combination of the EYFS profile and the new baseline assessment to measure your child’s progress. If you’re not sure, it’s best to contact your child’s school or talk to his teacher, to find out what methods of assessment will be used.
When will my child be assessed?If your child’s school chooses to use the baseline assessment test, he will probably be assessed within the first six weeks of starting school. His teacher will decide when he’s ready for the assessment. It should only take place once he’s settled and confident in his new class.
What will my child be tested on?The baseline assessment tests your child’s basic skills within the following three areas of learning:
The assessment may also look at your child’s physical development or his social skills. This will depend on which type of baseline assessment your child’s school chooses.
Communication and language will look at how your child listens, talks, understands and pays attention, including:
- How well does your child listen in one-to-one or group conversations?
- Can he respond to simple instructions, for example, to go and get an object or put something away?
- Can he describe something that’s happening?
- Does he ask simple questions beginning with who, what, when or how?
Literacy looks at your child’s reading and writing skills, including:
- Does he listen to and join in with stories?
- Does he handle books carefully?
- Does he sometimes give meaning to the marks he makes as he draws and paints?
- Is he beginning to recognise marks or letters?
Numeracy will focus on your child’s understanding of numbers, shapes and measurements, including:
- Can he use numbers when he’s playing?
- Does he count from one to 10 in the right order?
- Can he accurately count a small group of objects?
- Is he able to compare objects by size or weight?
- Can he recognise and name simple shapes like a square or a circle?
How will my child be assessed?Schools can choose from three baseline assessment providers. Some will use practical activities to assess your child, while others may be more computer-based. So it’s difficult to say exactly how your child will be assessed. However, the focus for his teacher will be on settling him in his new class, and getting to know him through observations as he plays with his classmates.
Through small group activities and teacher-led tasks, your child may be asked to count a small number of toys or identify numbers. Or he may be asked to play a simple game.
The idea is that your child won’t realise he’s being tested. The assessments take the form of simple puzzles and games. There will be no right or wrong answers. Your child may even enjoy the chance to show off to his new teacher what he can do!
Will my child be given a score?Yes, the baseline assessment will result in a score that forms part of your child’s baseline profile. By having a good understanding of his abilities when he starts school, your child’s teacher will be able to measure his progress.
It’s unlikely that you will be given your child’s score but his teacher may refer to it during parent-teacher meetings and may work with you to help build your child’s skills in a particular area, like numeracy or language.
Your child’s baseline assessment score will be used by his school to assess his progress between starting reception from four years and when he leaves primary school at 11 years old.
If you have any concerns about how your child will be assessed, contact his school or talk to his teacher. She will be able to reassure you and explain any assessment procedures in full.
For more support and advice to give your child a happy start to Reception, visit readyforschool.co.uk - a school-readiness app for you and your child.
Last reviewed: April 2016