The pilot of the new Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) has begun and the national roll-out is due in September 2020. Katherine Fowler from the National Foundation for Educational Research – which has developed and will deliver the new assessment – explains how it will work in practice and discusses some of the evidence and research used to create it

Starting from the autumn term 2020, all Reception classes in England will be expected to undertake the Department for Education’s Reception Baseline Assessment (DfE, 2018).

In the lead up to the statutory roll-out of this new assessment, more than 9,000 schools up and down the country have signed up for the pilot year, which begins this term.

Practitioners will administer the assessment one-on-one with every Reception child during their first six weeks of starting school. The assessment covers elements of early mathematics, literacy, communication and language, and should take an average of 20 minutes per child to complete. The practitioner will record the responses of the child using an online system while the child interacts with physical and engaging resources.

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