Today we have announced that the statutory introduction of the Reception Baseline Assessment will be delayed for a year because of the issues brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic. But what is the RBA? Here are some helpful questions and answers.
What is it? The RBA is a short assessment of pupils basic skills when they arrive in primary school. It was due to be rolled out nationally from September after a successful pilot but due to the Covid 19 pandemic we have delayed that for a year.
Is the RBA a test? And will it be stressful? No, it isn’t a test. It will not be sat under test conditions. The RBA has been designed so that children will find it similar to other on entry assessments that many schools do when children start reception classes. Children will be one-to-one with a teacher they already know and the assessment will involve simple, practical tasks like counting objects or describing pictures. It will cover material that many children are already familiar with.
Is this an extra assessment of our children? They are already tested throughout school. No. It will replace the SATs they take in year 2. We are reviewing what implications, if any, postponing the statutory implementation RBA might have on the timeline for the removal of KS1 assessments and will provide more details on this in due course.
Why is it necessary? When it becomes statutory, the assessment will give us a baseline from which to measure the progress pupils make during their time in primary school. It will be part of the way we measure school performance.
Does this mean no pupils will be doing the RBA this year? No, some schools will still choose to do it. It is normal for schools to do some kind of assessment of pupils abilities when they enter reception so even if they are not doing the RBA yet, pupils are likely to be doing something similar. All the statutory postponement means is that we will not use any outcomes from those schools that choose to use the RBA this year to measure school effectiveness.