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Researchers to investigate assessments for reception children

Researchers from the School of Education have won a £20,000 research grant from the Froebel Trust to investigate new early years assessments that are being introduced by the Department for Education (DfE) in 2016.

Posted: 10 March 2015

image for news story Researchers to investigate assessments for reception children
National testing of four-and five-year-olds in England is currently being introduced on a trial basis before being made compulsory in September 2016. The tests take place in the first weeks of reception class and are designed to give teaching staff a clearer idea of each child's abilities in order to aid their schooling.

The study will investigate reception teachers’ and headteachers’ experiences of the assessments during this initial pilot phase. It will also explore the feasibility of a more holistic, observation-led approach that is currently being developed by one of the providers of the assessments. The provider claims to take into consideration children’s wellbeing and involvement, as well as characteristics of effective learning.

Professor of Early Childhood Studies and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre (ECRC), Mathias Urban said: “This move towards on-entry-testing has been widely published and controversially discussed in the early childhood sector, and strongly opposed by experts and professional associations. Nevertheless, it is important to follow the developments and investigate key stakeholders’ experiences with the assessments.”

Professor Urban and the wider research team hope that this study will provide teachers and policy makers with practice-based evidence that can support their future positioning in an ongoing discussion at professional and policy level.

The research team are all members of Roehampton’s ECRC which believes in sharing knowledge to help improve each child’s well-being as well as ensuring that they reach their full potential. They include Sigrid Brogaard-Clausen, Sofia Guimaraes, Sally Howe and Michelle Cottle.

The project is funded by The Froebel Trust, a charity that promotes the principles of early years education developed by Friedrich Froebel.

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