Thousands of primaries opt for test-free baseline assessments

The TES is reporting that thousands of primary schools have opted to assess four-year-olds purely on the basis of teacher observations rather than through tests…

In a move that appears to show the strength of feeling against testing in the early years, the majority of primaries have opted for the only version of the new baseline assessment that does not use computers or paper-based testing, TES has learned.

Six versions of the test have been approved for use, but only the one produced by Early Excellence is based entirely on teacher observations of children’s abilities. 

Jan Dubiel, national development manager of Early Excellence, said that out of about 17,000 primaries in England, more than 11,000 had signed up for the organisation’s version so far…

To read the full story, get the 22 May edition of TES

More at: Thousands of primaries opt for test-free baseline assessments

 

Any surprises at this?

Do you expect schools to be able to continue to go down this route or will some degree of paper or computer testing become compulsory?

And if you/your school has chosen one of these testing routes, please do let us know your reasons and thinking…

 

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Secondary schools reject GCSE reforms & primary schools reject baseline tests. Hardly a ringing endorsement of govt policy

  2. The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile already exists but Gov’t scrapping it.  Primary schools, however, seem to value assessment based on observations.  Baseline tests should be scrapped – they are flawed. http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/05/baseline-tests-are-flawed-their-introduction-should-be-scrapped/

  3. LeoToAquarius

    They have been pushing the delusion of play based learning without any evidence it works for decades and unsurprisingly want to avoid anything that will demonstrate the Emperor has no clothes. 
    Classroom assessment by observation is useless as it driven by bias, there are many science studies that show this, it will also explode workload for the staff.
    Better to test them ,externally verify it and stop the nonsense of play based learning and actually teach them.

  4. LeoToAquarius

    They have been pushing the delusion of play based learning without any evidence it works for decades and unsurprisingly want to avoid anything that will demonstrate the Emperor has no clothes. 
    Classroom assessment by observation is useless as it driven by bias, there are many science studies that show this, it will also explode workload for the staff.
    Better to test them ,externally verify it and stop the nonsense of play based learning and actually teach them.

  5. LeoToAquarius

    They have been pushing the delusion of play based learning without any evidence it works for decades and unsurprisingly want to avoid anything that will demonstrate the Emperor has no clothes. 
    Classroom assessment by observation is useless as it driven by bias, there are many science studies that show this, it will also explode workload for the staff.
    Better to test them ,externally verify it and stop the nonsense of play based learning and actually teach them.

  6. LeoToAquarius The Early Years Profile, based on observation, is well-respected.  It is an accepted part of teachers’ workload as any properly-used assessment should be (how can teachers plan teaching if they haven’t assessed what children have or have not learned?).

    As the baseline assessment tests would be taken within weeks of pupils starting school (some as young as four), it’s difficult to understand how these would show ‘the Emperor has no clothes’.

    ‘Play-based learning’ is a misnomer.  It requires careful questioning and discussion.  It is neither ‘nonsense’ or anarchic free for all.

  7. LeoToAquarius

    Janet2 LeoToAquarius Suggest you read http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/vtt/Constructivism_Kirschner_Sweller_Clark_EP_06.pdf
    It’s not well respected by the scientific community who are not in agreement with the educationalists who consistently peddle pseudoscience and distort the science , VAK and multiple intelligence’s being just 2 examples, Blooms and transferable thinking skills being another 
    By having a baseline assessment it would show how poorly play based learning has served generation of children in the uk and led to catastrophic levels on literacy and numeracy that secondary schools have to deal with. 
    Something other much poorer societies avoid, by attempting to manipulate the baseline assessments so they are done internally simply explodes teacher workload – I see no evidence that primary schoolteachers are happy with their load but plenty that ideological and anti -science management are…
    Given they are baseline the only reason that a school would want these internally assessed is that they could then manipulate the baseline. 
    They should be done externally and the school demonstrate that they have improved on them – but that would mean abandoning decades of pseudoscience such as Piaget and whole word teaching of reading in favour of phonics and cognitive science, something the ideologically driven primary sector are loath to do

  8. LeoToAquarius Janet2 Note – I said ‘play-based’ learning required discussion and was often structured.  This is not the ‘Minimal Guidance’ your research refers to.

    It’s not true there’s been ‘catastrophic’ failure in primary teaching of literacy and numeracy.  The international PIRLS reading test showed an improvement in English 10 year-olds’ reading.

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/12/10-year-olds-from-england-and-northern-ireland-shine-like-pirls-in-global-reading-test/

    And the Trends in Maths and Science Survey placed English 10 year-olds among the top ten countries for primary maths.

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/lsn_faq/how-did-english-and-northern-irish-pupils-perform-in-the-timss/

    Phonics has been taught systematically in English primary school for years.  The Teaching in Europe survey found phonics was well established – it was work on comprehension that was needed.

    http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/130EN.pdf

    A recent DfE survey found English primary teachers taught phonics primarily and supplemented by other methods.

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/09/gibb-claims-rise-in-number-passing-screening-test-is-down-to-relentless-emphasis-on-phonics-but-dfe-commissioned-research-contradicts-this/

  9. LeoToAquarius

    Janet2 LeoToAquarius
    I am glad to see that phonics is being is being used and that reading is improving
    I see the other end 

    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/oct/08/england-young-people-league-table-basic-skills-oecd

    and am shocked at the poor quality of the maths I am trying to fix largely due to this 
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Progressively-worse-Burden-British-Schools/dp/1906837627
    If you are saying progressive teaching is weakening in primaries than that is excellent.

  10. LeoToAquarius Janet2 The basic skills survey judged a small number of adults, some of which were 16-24.  The OECD warned the results should be used with caution because the response rate in most countries was too small.  The OECD asked these countries to do ‘non-response bias’ test – England and Northern Ireland didn’t do them all.  I asked the OECD about it – they stood by the results but still urged caution.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/10/oecd-stands-by-adult-skills-survey-result-for-englandnorthern-ireland-but-still-advises-caution-in-the-use-of-the-data/

    As far as I’m aware, this warning’s been ignored.

    Traditional and progressive methods should not be seen as exclusive.  Both are needed.http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/03/dont-pitch-traditional-and-progressive-teaching-against-each-other-both-are-needed/

  11. LeoToAquarius

    Janet2 LeoToAquarius
    Have not seen a single RCT with a control group demonstrating the effectiveness of progressive methods. 
    You cannot teach thinking skills over 30yrs of CogSci research demonstrates – they are innate 
    Have a look at Sweller’s submissions to the Australian Curriculum review
    https://submissions.education.gov.au/Forms/AustralianCurriculum/_layouts/SP.Submissions/ViewDoc.ashx?id=%7B4603f410-3348-4885-8cf9-dee30f05606f%7D
    Here is the link to the original paper 2013 his comments are based on
    http://andre.tricot.pagesperso-orange.fr/TricotSweller_revised.pdf
    Progressives have not demonstrated a single mainstream study supporting their claims…

  12. LeoToAquarius

    Janet2 LeoToAquarius When I see that Science supports progressive methods in the way it does traditional ones and that progressives stop promoting myths such as rote learning (no such thing) then it will have a value until then it has no place in the School system and should be rooted out

  13. LeoToAquarius

    Janet2 LeoToAquarius When I see that Science supports progressive methods in the way it does traditional ones and that progressives stop promoting myths such as rote learning (no such thing) then it will have a value until then it has no place in the School system and should be rooted out

  14. LeoToAquarius

    Janet2 LeoToAquarius When I see that Science supports progressive methods in the way it does traditional ones and that progressives stop promoting myths such as rote learning (no such thing) then it will have a value until then it has no place in the School system and should be rooted out

  15. LeoToAquarius Janet2 I believe in teacher professionalism to decide what is the best strategy for their pupils in different contexts.   I want neither ‘progressives’ or ‘traditionalists’ saying teaching methods of which they don’t approve have no value and ‘should be rooted out’.  As I said above, both are needed.  Blindly adhering to one of these methods which, as you say, are often misrepresented, has the whiff of fundamentalism about it.

  16. LeoToAquarius

    Janet2 LeoToAquarius No the progressives have been shoving their fundamentalism down the throat of the profession, they have no evidence to back their claims and the science (see the link above) contradicts their position. 
    Their influence is so insidious that it has distorted teacher training, OFSTED and performance management. 
    You can’t blindly adhere to the science that backs traditional teaching. 
    Whenever I see progressive methods being used , I see poor results , confused students and a massive workload for the teacher. 
    Progressives complicate a simple phenomena – learning and the create a bullying bureaucracy to implement it. 
    Traditional schools have neither as learning is not regarded as complicated. 
    Discipline, hardwork and memory are emphasized and these are sufficient not the science contradicted nonsense of teaching thinking (skills), groupwork and discovery learning that have destroyed STEM in the UK and exploded the workload of teachers pointlessly.
    It is morally indefensible to back a method that has no scientific evidence in its favor and plenty against.
    That’s not fundamentalism but sanity.

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