Is assessing 4 year olds really such a bad idea?


The announcement yesterday that from 2016 there will be tests for 4-5 years olds has had a mixed response. It hasn’t been helped by the media hyperbole surrounding the idea, with a focus on conjuring up images of Reception age children being sat in rows completing examinations.

However, if we set aside prejudging the way that this will be implemented and consider the possible impact, then I think there is much to celebrate in the notion that we may look at the child’s individual developmental point when they start school.

It is important to recognise that this should be a formative or diagnostic process rather than a comparative one. There is little to be gained by trying to create a baseline which sets one child against the next. This is in part because of the significant variance in age at this point. As a percentage of age, one child could…

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