Early years assessment

Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and practitioners to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support.

  • Assessment is about noticing what children can do and what they know
  • It is not about lots of data, evidence and paperwork
  • Effective assessment requires practitioners to understand child development
  • Practitioners also need to be clear about what they want children to know and be able to do
  • Accurate assessment can highlight whether a child has a special educational need and needs extra help
  • Before assessing children, it’s a good idea to think about whether the assessments will be useful
  • Assessment should not take practitioners away from the children for long periods of time

Ongoing assessment involves practitioners knowing children’s level of achievement and interests, and then shaping teaching and learning experiences for each child reflecting that knowledge. 

Parents and/or carers should be kept up-to-date with their child’s progress and development. Practitioners should address any learning and development needs in partnership with parents and/or carers, and any relevant professionals.

Assessment should inform an ongoing dialogue between practitioners and year 1 teachers about each child’s learning and development, to support a successful transition to key stage 1.

General resources

Progress check at age 2 SHOW

Assessment at the end of the EYFS SHOW

Early Learning Goals (ELGs)

The level of development children should be expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS is defined by the early learning goals (ELGs).

The ELGs should not be used as a curriculum or in any way to limit the wide variety of rich experiences that are crucial to child development, from being read to frequently to playing with friends.

When forming a judgement about whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, teachers should draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgement.

Communication and language SHOW

Personal, social and emotional development SHOW

Physical development SHOW

Literacy SHOW

Mathematics SHOW

Understanding the world SHOW

Expressive arts and design SHOW

Other child progress resources

This page contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. From Development Matters and Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage.