UKLA issues its response to the government consultation on primary assessment

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In 2016, UKLA published a brief statement of principles of assessment, stating that “We believe that the design and implementation of the statutory assessment system in primary schools have a number of serious problems which are not resolvable within the existing framework.

These include:

  • A narrowing of the curriculum, as schools concentrate on teaching to the requirements of the assessment system, at the expense of a broader education.
  • The introduction of an unrealistic set of standards, which categorise nearly half the school population as failing, and undermine children’s sense of themselves as learners.
  • The exclusion, in practical terms, of large groups of students (particularly SEND pupils), from participation in mainstream learning activities.
  • A framework for the measurement of school performance which makes use of the partial, unreliable, and inaccurate data generated by the primary assessment system.
  • A failure to assist pupils’ transition from primary to secondary education.
  • A danger, unrecognised by the DfE, of damage to pupils’ health and well-being.’

At that same time UKLA announced its support for both the More than a Score and Better Without Baseline campaigns. As a campaigning coalition of organisations, we are committed to:

  • exploring new approaches to assessment, that separate the need to assess pupils from issues of school and system accountability;
  • supporting constructive action by teachers, parents and others towards ending the present system of assessment, and introducing an alternative model that enjoys professional and public confidence.

Between March and June of this year, the DfE launched its consultation on assessment: UKLA submitted a response which stated that ‘the reception class is not the place to make a baseline assessment against which the child’s subsequent progress through primary school is recorded.’

On September 15th, the Government consultation on Primary assessment was published.

In that response, the DfE stated that baseline assessments will be introduced to the EYFS within the first few weeks of a child entering Reception and that KS1 SATs will continue until at least 2020. With the KS2 SATs remaining and a multiplication test being introduced for Year 4 children, rather than the burden of assessment being reduced, there is the potential for a greater propensity for teaching to the test.

None of the UKLA issues as indicated above has been adequately addressed in the Government response. As an association we fear that the proposals, in the consultation response will have a negative impact on children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. As a result, UKLA will continue to support the More than a Score and Better Without Baseline campaigns.