Assessment for Children’s Learning: A new future for primary education

02 Nov 2022

England’s policies and practices for assessment of children in primary schools are urgently in need of improvement. This is the conclusion of the final report of the Independent Commission on Assessment in Primary Education (ICAPE).



  1. The main purpose of primary school assessments is to improve pupils’ learning and progress during their primary school years.
  2. Formative assessment of children’s learning is the main emphasis of the assessment system.
  3. Assessment of pupils is clearly separated from the means to hold schools and teachers to account.
  4. Assessment of pupils provides a holistic picture of pupils’ achievements that reflects the whole curriculum, encompassing a wide range of understanding including creative thinking and collaboration.
  5. Assessment is designed to support inclusive education for all children.

Developments in assessment and curriculum to be completed within five years

  1. Assessments for monitoring of standards of education over time are based on a new system of nationally representative sampling of schools and pupils.
  2. The SATs and other high stakes assessments are phased out to be replaced by more emphasis on assessment for learning.
  3. Holistic assessment of each pupil’s learning during their life in primary school is captured in a profile of evidence that reflects their achievements and draws on a variety of assessment methods.
  4. Year 1 and year 4 are established as points for key summative assessments in primary schools to enable more time for use of diagnostic information to support children’s learning prior to year 6.
  5. In order to ensure sufficient breadth of assessments (including the vital areas of the arts, humanities and pupils’ learning dispositions), professional learning opportunities are provided to teachers to support formative and summative assessment, as appropriate, across the whole curriculum.
  6. New, more appropriate and more supportive ways of monitoring the quality of schools and teachers are developed.
  7. Local authorities are empowered to support and monitor the quality of education in schools.
  8. Full consideration is given to England’s participation in the PISA assessments of creative thinking.