In March 2014, the Department for Education published its response to a consultation on reforming assessment and accountability in primary schools. The response set out the Department’s intention to change the way it hold primary schools to account, by introducing a Reception Baseline assessment, which will be the only measure used to assess the progress of children from entry (at age 4-5) to the end of key stage 2 (age 10-11). From 2016 onwards, all schools that wish to demonstrate progress for accountability purposes will have to adopt an approved Reception Baseline scheme. In 2023, when this cohort of pupils reaches the end of key stage 2, the Reception Baseline will be the starting point used to measure pupil progress for all-through primary schools. Schools can opt to use an approved baseline assessment from September 2015 if they wish to do so.
DfE commissioned research to gain a greater understanding about how the proposed reception baseline could be implemented and to identify effective ways of communicating the results to parents. The research comprised two strands. The second strand was a qualitative study undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) which is reported here. The qualitative study aimed to explore the accountability context of the reforms and to investigate the reporting formats that stakeholders find most useful. This summary sets out the key findings drawn from the qualitative study.