Guy Roberts-Holmes was awarded the 2016 BERA Public Engagement and Impact Award for his work in challenging the goals set out for Baseline Assessment for assessing and tracking the progress of 4-5 year olds within the primary system, which led to the subsequent withdrawal of the policy as announced by the DfE in April 2016.
Baseline Assessment, was part of the policy “Reforming assessment and accountability for primary schools” (DfE, 2014) and was designed to produce a ‘baseline’ figure from which four and five year old children’s progress across the primary years can be measured. According to a DfE report from 2016, BA was to be ‘the only measure used to assess the progress of children from entry (at age four to-five-years) to the end of KS2 (age 10-11), alongside an attainment floor standard of 85 per cent’ (DfE, 2014: 4). Although other measures could still be used to demonstrate progress to KS2 for children starting reception in the school year 2015/16, all schools were encouraged to use the new baseline assessment – and most did.
The research was carried out in the autumn term of 2015, using a mixed methods approach involving a nationwide survey and five case studies of Reception classes in primary schools. An online survey was distributed via the NUT and ATL e-mail databases using the Bristol Online Survey service, and was completed by 1,131 people.