Four-year-olds to face assessments
The Department of Education have confirmed that a series of tests will be introduced in reception classes as a baseline measure of abilities. The assessment is to take place within the very first four weeks of school in order to monitor progress made between the beginning and end of primary school more effectively. In addition, results of this early assessment will help teachers identify pupils who may need more help and in which areas they require support.
Due to come into action 2016, the exact format of this assessment is yet to be decided. Russell Hobby, head of the National Association of Head Teachers has voiced that he has no problem with the plans, stating that ‘the first three years of education are arguably the most important’, yet this crucial period remains largely overlooked and rarely checked.
On the other hand, the Pre-school Learning Alliance has strong reservations against the introduction of assessment at such a young age (the majority pupils undertaking the examinations will be four years old). Chief executive of the organisation Neil Leitch has claimed that this is an example of the 'ongoing schoolification of the early years’ and that he is concerned by the Department of Education’s disregard of ‘the basic right of our young children to play, explore, and experience the wonders of the world they are growing up in'.
What do you think? Is this a necessary measure to monitor children’s improvement? Or could this add unnecessary pressure to children’s earliest experiences at school?