The Reception baseline assessment (RBA) is an assessment of early mathematics and literacy. It’s not a test as such, because of the age of the children being assessed. Instead, it’s called an "age-appropriate assessment". The RBA will be statutory in all maintained primary, infant and first schools in England from September 2021. It is a short, activity-based assessment of pupils’ early mathematics, literacy, communication and language skills. The RBA is not about judging or labelling your child or putting them under any pressure. Your child cannot ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ the assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to provide the starting point for a new measure that will help parents understand how well schools support their pupils to progress between reception and Year 6 / the end of Key Stage 2.
The Department for Education says that by giving each child a Baseline Assessment when they first start primary school, schools will not only have a clearer idea of how much progress their pupils are making, but should also be able to identify which children are likely to need extra help. Assessment results will not be used for the school's purposes in measuring progress. Children's school reports will not include scores, and schools will continue to use the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile as a teacher-observed, complete assessment of each individual child's development and progress in Reception.
Children starting Reception in September will have the RBA administered in their first six weeks of school.
The assessment will be completed by a trained member of school staff and not an external assessor. The person completing the test will be either the Reception class teacher or the Reception class teaching assistant.
The RBA is not a written assessment, and the responses will be a mixture of pointing, oral response and moving objects. Many tasks will have more than one accepted method of response.
The member of staff supporting the child with the assessment will record the results on an online scoring system. This will be filled in as the child engages with the tasks.
The results recorded by staff on the computer will be sent to the national pupil database. The results will not be made available to the school- or parents. The data is not standardised for the age of the pupil, and there is no pass mark.
These scores will then be used to create a cohort-level progress measure of schools at the end of key stage 2 when pupils take Sat exams and move on to secondary education.