Another term, another joint RS Assessment-SchoolDash analysis of primary pupils' attainment amidst the disruption.
Previously, we saw very large year-on-year decreases in attainment at the start of the 2020 autumn term, following a period of almost six months during which most pupils were restricted to online lessons and homeschooling. During the course of the 2020 autumn term, following several weeks of in-person instruction for most schoolchildren, these gaps closed substantially – though by no means entirely.
Here we report the most recent assessment test results following further school closures in England during January, February and early March 2021. These compare test scores for cohorts that sat tests just before Easter 2021 with those who sat them in spring 2020, just before the UK's initial pandemic response kicked off. These show bigger falls in attainment than those seen at the end of 2020, though not as large as those seen in early autumn 2020.
In addition, we found that:
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) and maths showed the largest declines, representing a gap of on average three months’ progress across all year groups. Reading, on average, showed a two-month gap.
Younger year groups, Years 1 and 2 in particular, generally showed bigger reductions in attainment than older year groups.
Schools with high proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) experienced decreases in mean test score that were approximately twice as large as schools with low proportions of FSM-eligible pupils.