Calls for review of KS2 tests after RBA delay

The introduction of the new reception baseline assessment (RBA) has been delayed by the government, meaning that schools will not be required to set it for pupils this autumn. The RBA will now not become mandatory until September 2021.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said the decision had been made because ‘some schools may not have had the time they need to familiarise their teachers and staff with the process’.

However, he reiterated that the government is ‘committed’ to introducing the RBA, and promoted the opportunity for schools to sign up this year for the ‘early adopter year’, which would offer the opportunity for them to familiarise themselves with the content and administration of the assessment before it starts being used for accountability purposes.

Commenting on the decision Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘We support the decision to suspend the reception baseline assessment for 12 months as a sensible and pragmatic response to the disruption caused by the coronavirus emergency. We understand that schools which wish to become early adopters of the assessment can still do so. This is not the time to introduce a new national assessment when teachers have to be able to focus on reintegrating children back into schools, and we are pleased this has been recognised by the government.’

He also called on the government to undertake a review of the Key Stage 2 tests due to take place in May 2021 ‘as a matter of urgency’, and called for them not to be used for accountability purposes. ‘There may be merit in allowing schools to run them for their own checks and to support children’s transition to secondary education.’, he said, ‘But it would be wrong to use them for school performance tables after so much disruption and as schools focus on helping children catch-up.’

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