Literacy experts have claimed that the new baseline assessment for four- and five-year olds has “no diagnostic value”, and provides “no mechanism through which to promote positive outcomes for children”. It is also reported that Reception baseline assesses a ‘very narrow aspect’ of language development and a ‘very limited subset’ of literacy knowledge.

According to the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), the Reception baseline assessment (RBA) – which becomes statutory in September 2021 – will not provide an “accurate account of children’s communication, language and literacy development” or “reliable predictive data” through which progress can be measured.

Speaking during the Westminster Education Forum on primary assessment on 16th July, Lucy Rodriguez-Leon, co-convenor of the UKLA Early Years Literacy in Education Special Interest Group, said the association has “some concerns about the design” of the proposed RBA for communication, language and literacy.

“Its focus on only vocabulary, chronological awareness and comprehension means that it assesses a very narrow aspect of language development and a very limited subset of literacy knowledge,” she said.

“And it doesn’t really appear to include any components that would really elicit a child’s communicative capabilities. It’s UKLA’s position that the proposed assessment will not provide an accurate account of children’s communication, language and literacy development, or provide reliable predictive data upon which value-added attainment can be measured throughout the primary schools. As a school evaluation tool, the assessment results have no diagnostic value, but also no mechanism through which to promote positive outcomes for children. The first few weeks of Reception class, of course, are crucial to establish positive teacher-pupil relationships, and to promote children’s self-confidence and wellbeing in that new classroom environment. And this, in our view, is where teachers’ time and effort should be directed.”

The full article, as reported by tes, can be found here.

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