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Summative Assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Early Years
Foundation Stage Profile.

The Department of Education (2014, p.14) states that the Early Years Foundation
Stage Profile (EYFSP) ‘provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with
a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their
progress against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1.’

Beckley, Hendry and Elvidge (2009, p.91) indicate that the EYFSP is very helpful in
being able to assess the progress that a child is making, as well as highlighting
specific needs. Glazzard et al (2010, p.129) propose that it ‘is essential that
practitioners do no work in isolation and that scale points are awarded in the basis of
ongoing assessments and the knowledge of all parents/carers who have worked with
the child.’ Conversely, the Great Britain Standards and Testing Agency (2012, p.11)
admits that although a formative assessment must be undertaken; practitioners are
not required to record their findings in a specific manner. Furthermore, they establish
that the EYFSP is not an ongoing assessment.

Blaiklock (2011, p.7) suggests that the EYFSP provides a clear summary of a child’s
progress, and that it provides a lot of guidance to teachers. The EYFSP consists of a

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series of scales, these scales are created from the early learning goals.
Nevertheless, Hutchin (1999, p.51) warns that checklists are not very indicative or
accurate on a child’s ability. A fundamental issue with checklists is that they only
focus upon what the teacher feels are the most important aspects of a particular
topic; thus preventing an overall picture of a child’s understanding being created.

‘I have heard mixed and strong views on the topic of assessment at the end of the
EYFS – the EYFS Profile. On balance, the majority agree we should retain a
summative, or summary, assessment at the end of the reception year, but it is also
clear that the existing EYFS Profile is too detailed and complex.’ (Tickell, 2011,
quoted in Dubiel, 2014, p.146) Waterman (2013, p.9) reports that due to the
disappointing results of the new EYFSP which was introduced in 2013, the number
of learning goals has been greatly reduced from eighty to seventeen. Furthermore,
these goals focus upon ‘communication and language; physical development;
personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding of
the world; expressive arts and design.’

Hall and Sheehy (2014, p.326) emphasise that summative assessments must take a
variety of forms, as children will respond to these different forms in a range of ways.
A summative assessment cannot just be a written test, it must allow students with

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different abilities and needs to be able to demonstrate their progress as effectively as
those who excel at written tasks. Bruce (2005, p.209) concludes that ‘Summative
assessment is about taking stock, pausing and bringing together everything known
about the child’s progress.’ Brodie (2013, p.54) lends support to Bruce by identifying
that the EYFSP’s main role is to summarise a child’s progress before they enter year
one. Therefore, aiding their next teachers understanding of the children’s abilities
and possible needs.

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Reference List

Beckley, P., Hendry, H., and Elvidge, K. (2009) Implementing the Early Years
Foundation Stage: a handbook. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill International Ltd.
Blaiklock, K. (2011) ‘Curriculum Guidelines for Early Literacy: A Comparison of New
Zealand and England’, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(3), pp.3-7.
Brodie, K. (2013) Obesrvation, assessment and planning in the early years: bringing
it all together. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Bruce, T. (2005) Early childhood education. 3rd edn. Dubai: Hodder Education.
Department for Education (2014) Statutory framework for the Early Years
Foundation Stage: setting the standards for learning, development and care for
children from birth to five. Available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stageframework--2 (Accessed: 27 November 2014)
Dubiel, J. (2014) Effective assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage. London:
SAGE Publications Ltd.
Glazzard, J., Chadwick, D., Webster, A., and Percival, J. (2010) Assessment for
learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Great Britain Standards and Testing Agency (2012) Early Years Foundation Stage
Profile handbook 2013. London: Standards and Testing Agency.

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Hall, K. and Sheehy, K. (2014) ‘Assessment for Learning: summative approaches’, in
Cremin, T. (ed.) and Arthur, J. (ed.) Learning to teach in the primary school. 3rd edn.
Oxon: Routledge, pp. 324-338.
Hutchin, V. (1999) Right from the start: effective planning and assessment in the
Early Years. London: Hodder and Stoughton Educational.
Waterman, C. (2013) ‘Simpler Early Years Foundation Profile shows disappointing
results’, Education Journal, 178(Autumn), pp.9-9.

Kate Lawson