Plans to broaden baseline beyond maths and literacy dropped

Plans to include tests of how well children can persist with a task have been dropped from the baseline assessment following trials, TES is reporting.

A document published today by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) reveals that “self-regulation” will not be assessed by the tasks undertaken by 4- and 5-year-old children as part of the baseline assessments.

Instead, the baseline assessment will consist solely of mathematics tasks and literacy, communication and language tasks, while self-regulation will be included in a reformed early years foundation stage profile. 

The development of the assessment included trials in 300 schools and the STA reports that teachers taking part in the trial were “unsure of the purpose and value of the self-regulation tasks” and found that the self-regulation tasks took longer to administer than tasks measuring other skills.

It concludes: “The Department for Education has decided not to include self-regulation in the assessment to enable greater coverage and reliability of the other content areas in the time available. The assessment of self-regulation will form part of the reformed Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, which is an observational assessment more suited to this content area.”

The decision has disappointed early years experts. Beatrice Merrick, chief executive of professional association Early Education, said: “The DfE had initially taken on board feedback from the sector that tests of early language, literacy and numeracy at age 4 are less accurate predictors of children’s future outcomes than assessments of self-regulation. 

“This shows the difficulty of constructing valid and meaningful tests of children at age 4 that have any real predictive value of children’s later outcomes.”

Read more Plans to broaden baseline beyond maths and literacy dropped

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