The Standards and Testing Agency has announced three approved providers for the reception baseline assessments.
The chosen providers are Early Excellence, Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University (CEM) and National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). They will roll out their assessment models from September.
From September 2016 primary schools will need to use the reception baseline assessments if they want to be assessed on pupil progress at key stage 2, as opposed to attainment.
The three providers had to recruit a minimum of 1,638 schools – about 10 per cent of primary schools – by the end of April in order to be approved.
Early Excellence’s national development manager Jan Dubiel (pictured) told Schools Week that more than half of England’s primary schools – “slightly more than 11,000” – had chosen his company to provide the assessments to be taken by four and five-year-olds.
A distinct feature of Early Excellence’s model is that it involves observations rather than formal tests.
“We are very pleased that schools and practitioners have responded to our approach to baseline and we are really looking forward to rolling it out in September,” he said.
The organisation are currently in the process of training between fourteen and fifteen thousand teachers, which will be completed by the end of the summer term.
Mr Dubeil also said Early Excellence will be putting on “extra sessions” at the beginning of September for schools who have decided to use his company if their preferred model isn’t available.
Carole Willis, chief executive of NFER said: “The NFER reception baseline assessment has been extensively trialled by over 500 schools and 3000 pupils, who provided positive and valuable feedback that helped shape the robust assessment.
“We are delighted to now be confirmed as an approved supplier for delivery in September.”
Both NFER and CEM would not reveal the number of schools they had recruited.
NFER said: “We satisfied the requirements of the DfE to be approved but it is not usual for us to release sales figures on any of our products.”
A CEM spokesperson said: “We are aware that information regarding the accreditation status of providers is in the public domain. We are not able to comment [on the number of schools] at the moment but we will be happy to do so following the formal announcement from the Department for Education.”
Three other providers will now lose their approval: GL Assessment, Hodder Education and Speech Link.
If a primary school has signed up to use one of these providers, they can still use their assessment method but the government will not “reimburse any costs and or report” the school’s progress.