Primary and 16 to 19 assessment and accountability


The government has announced changes to assessment and accountability regime in primary phase and the accountability regime for post-16 providers. Both changes were the subject of individual consultations last year.

For primary schools, new more challenging key stage 2 (KS2) tests will be introduced, with 85% of pupils expected to reach the standard equivalent to level 4b of the existing tests. This will be accompanied by a new floor standard. A new baseline test will also be introduced in reception, against which future progress will be measured.

At 16-19 a new accountability system will be introduced including published minimum standards and headline measures.


The main changes to assessment and accountability at primary level are:
  • The introduction of a baseline check in reception, against which progress at the end of key stage (KS) 2 will be measured.
  • More challenging tests at the end of KS2 that will report a scaled score, rather than a level. These tests will be externally set and marked and will be used for school performance measures from 2016 onwards.
  • A new floor standard will be introduced, which will be based on the progress made by pupils from reception to the end of primary school.
  • Schools will be expected to ensure that 85% of pupils reach the new expected standard. There is currently no detail of what this will be, apart from that it will be similar to a level 4b under the current system.
  • From September 2016, the early years foundation stage (EYFS) profile will no longer be compulsory.
  • The grammar, punctuation and spelling test will not form part of the primary floor standard in 2014.
Schools will be able to opt in to the new reception baseline from September 2015 – these schools will have their progress measured in 2022 (when pupils reach the end of KS2) based on either the reception baseline or KS1 results, whichever shows the most progress. However, from September 2016 the reception baseline will be the only measure used to assess progress. Schools that choose not to use an approved baseline assessment from 2016 will be judged on the 85% attainment standard alone.
Junior and middle schools will be above the floor standard if pupils make sufficient progress at KS2 from KS1, or 85% or more of pupils reach the new expected standard at the end of KS2. The Department for Education (DfE) will be considering arrangements for measuring progress of pupils in infant or first schools from the reception baseline. P-scales will be retained unchanged for pupils who are not able to access the relevant end of key stage test.


The main changes to assessment and accountability at 16-19 are:
  • New headline measures, to be first published in 2016 performance tables, which will include:
    • progress (and a combined attainment/completion measure)
    • attainment
    • retention
    • English and mathematics progress measures for those who did not achieve good grades at age 16
    • destination
  • New minimum standards from 2016 – these will be set separately for academic, Applied General, Tech Level and substantial vocational qualifications at level 2. These will apply to level 3 outcomes from the 2015/16 academic year and to level 2 substantial vocational qualifications from the 2016/17 academic year.
The DfE will publish a list of substantial vocational qualifications at level 2 that will be included in headline measures. Schools will be able to defer the inclusion of pupil results in performance tables for one year, allowing lower attaining pupils to spend an extra year working towards a vocational qualification. The DfE recognises that some pupils will be unable to gain any qualifications, and suggests that some of these pupils will be able to participate in work experience programmes such as Supported Internships. Destination statistics will be extended to include special schools from 2014, and the DfE is exploring additional destination categories, such as independent living.

David Laws’ ministerial statement
Primary assessment and accountability consultation – DfE response
Reforming the accountability system for 16-19 providers – DfE response