A message from the chairs
We welcome this opportunity to Co-Chair the Independent Commission on Assessment in Primary Education alongside academics, head teachers, teachers and key stakeholders who bring with them a wealth of expertise from their field of research, study and interests. An independent review of the primary assessment system is long overdue.
We will be forensic in our task looking in detail at the key issues for assessment in primary schools from the perspectives of educators and external stakeholders. We will also be assessing how well current policies and practices link in with the latest research on the means, impact and outcomes of assessment. Our aim will be to recommend key principles for improving assessment in primary schools and offer examples of practice that reflect these.
Professor Dominic Wyse FAcSS FRSA
Co-chair of ICAPE
Professor Alice Bradbury
Co-chair of ICAPE
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Why do we need ICAPE?
Why do we need a primary assessment commission?
There has long been opposition from many education professionals, parents and researchers to the use of high-stakes testing in primary schools, and concern about how this affects classroom practice. Parents’ experiences of home-schooling during the pandemic have raised new questions about whether the current assessment system is the most appropriate for their children. There has also been recent research that offers new insights relevant to practice and policy. For these reasons, and many more, the time is right for a review of the assessment regime in primary schools.
Statutory assessments take place in 5 out of 7 primary school years:
- Reception: Baseline Assessment
- Year 1: Phonics Screening Check
- Year 2: Key Stage 1 SATs (due to be made non-statutory in 2023/24); re-sit of Phonics Screening Check for those not meeting ‘expected standard’
- Year 4: Multiplication Tables Check
- Year 6: Key Stage 2 SATs
The data gathered by the DfE from these tests is used to measure school performance and informs Ofsted inspections. There is a growing consensus among educators, parents and politicians of all parties that the primary assessment system needs to change.
What is the aim of ICAPE?
The aim of the commission is to produce an authoritative and ground-breaking contribution to the debate about the assessment system in primary schools. The commission will seek to make clear recommendations to practitioners and policy-makers alike.
How will ICAPE work?
The commission will meet to:
- Review the key issues for assessment in primary schools from the perspectives of educators and external stakeholders.
- Evaluate how well research evidence links to current policies and practices for assessment in primary schools.
- Recommend principles for improving assessment in primary schools and offer examples of practice that reflects these principles.
The commission will produce an interim report this summer and a final report in October 2022.