Review how EYFS profile data is used, Ofqual urges DfE

Ofqual, the examinations regulator, has urged the government to ensure that data from the revised early years foundation stage (EYFS) profile is used appropriately. Ofqual made the recommendation in its response to a consultation, which closed on 31 January 2020, seeking views on proposed changes to the statutory framework for the EYFS. The changes proposed include alterations to educational programmes and early learning goals, as a well as to assessment and moderation processes.

In their response Ofqual say that the use of school-level data on assessment outcomes should be reviewed, in order to ensure that it is used ‘in line with the assessment’s purpose and design’. The Department for Education (DfE) had said in its consulation document that the EYFS assessment should not be used ‘as an accountability measure for schools’. Ofqual welcomed this ‘clear statement’ that the assessment should not be used for accountability purposes but warned that ‘pressures may be placed on the revised….assessment through other means; there may be incentives to depress or inflate outcomes through informal or internal mechanisms’.  

Ofqual recommended ‘three key steps’ to ensure that the assessment is used as intended. These are 1) a review of how government as a whole uses and presents school-level EYFS profile data to ensure this is always consistent with its low-stakes purpose and design. 2) very clear communications and guidance to schools, governing boards and stakeholders on how data from the EYFSP assessment should/should not be used. 3) ongoing monitoring of how EYFS profile data is used in practice. Such measures, Ofqual say, should help minimise the risk that the assessment is used for purposes for which it was not designed, as well as supporting greater validity.

Full Ofqual consultation response:

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