The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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Baseline assessment – a matter of principle

By Marian Sainsbury, assessment expert, former Primary teacher, and NFER research associate

Baseline assessment, to be introduced nationally in 2015-16, gives a score for children’s abilities in their first six weeks of school, so that later progress can be measured. Since the DfE announcement earlier this month, there have been six accredited providers of reception baseline assessments, each offering a distinctive approach. This means that schools have a real choice about the kind of assessment they adopt and there has already been considerable discussion about what constitutes a ‘principled’ baseline assessment. Continue reading


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If summer-borns do less well at school, who or what is to blame?

By guest blogger Caroline Sharp, Research Director (October-born)

I recently attended the launch of the Nuffield report on month of birth. I have been researching this issue for some years now, so I was pleased to be invited onto the project advisory group. Actually, when I was first invited I thought ‘what will this new study add to our knowledge of the subject?’ followed swiftly by ‘why didn’t I think of that?’. Continue reading