We are delighted to announce that the winners of this year’s BERA SAGE Public Impact Award are Dr Alice Bradbury and Dr Guy Roberts-Holmes (UCL-IoE).
Now in its second year, this award champions the value that educational research holds within society, reflecting both SAGE Publishing and BERA’s shared goal to recognise and celebrate the impact that educational research has both in the field and beyond. Bradbury and Roberts-Holmes won the award for their work in challenging the goals set out for Baseline Assessment for assessing and tracking the progress of four-five year olds within the primary system. Bradbury and Roberts- Holmes’s research led to the subsequent withdrawal of the policy as announced by the Department for Education (DfE) in April 2016.
Baseline Assessment, was part of the policy “Reforming assessment and accountability for primary schools” (DfE, 2014) and was designed to produce a ‘baseline’ figure from which four and five year old children’s progress across the primary years can be measured. According to a DfE report from 2016, BA was to be ‘the only measure used to assess the progress of children from entry (at age four to-five-years) to the end of KS2 (age 10-11), alongside an attainment floor standard of 85 per cent’ (DfE, 2014: 4). Although other measures could still be used to demonstrate progress to KS2 for children starting reception in the school year 2015/16, all schools were encouraged to use the new baseline assessment – and most did.
The research was carried out in the autumn term of 2015, using a mixed methods approach involving a nationwide survey and five case studies of Reception classes in primary schools. An online survey was distributed via the NUT and ATL e-mail databases using the Bristol Online Survey service, and was completed by 1,131 people.
BERA and SAGE have an eight year collaborative history of working together to encourage and champion the application of research in practice, and this award, although relatively new, is a continuation of this history and shared goals.
Congratulations to both Alice and Guy for their work which has had a very definite impact on policy.