Begin - (Primaries) Introduction to Arbor Assessments

Begin, Build, Boost

You're at Begin, the first step in your school's journey to getting the most out of assessment in Arbor!




  • 00:00 - Introduction to Assessments
  • 04:30 - What types of Assessment can be recorded, and what summative, formative and ad hoc assessments are
  • 17:30 - Summative assessment marksheets
  • 38:40 - Summative assessment analysis
  • 43:00 - Formative assessment markbooks
  • 46:30 - Formative assessment analysis
  • 48:40 - Reporting in the Custom Report Writer


Why use Arbor Assessments?

There are a number of assessment types available to set up on Arbor depending on your needs. These include summative and formative approaches to assessment to ensure you are able to capture the data you need at the right times.

The assessment types you can use depend on the Arbor Package you’ve purchased.

  • Summative, Ad Hoc and DfE assessments are available in Core, Comms and Perform
  • Formative Tracking is available only in Perform. All other Arbor packages won’t have this feature by default.

Want to upgrade or find out what package you’re on? Just get in contact with your Account Manager.

Why use Arbor to manage assessments?

Arbor Assessments is more than a tracker it's an integral part of your MIS. Create, enter, track and analyse formative, summative, ad hoc and statutory assessments, all in one system.

Here are some of the benefits of managing your assessments in Arbor:

  • Understand your data using familiar Arbor tools (seven built-in analytics screens as well as custom reports)
  • Take action straight from your Assessment data - add pupils to interventions, send a message home, flag to another staff member and more
  • Keep parents in the loop on pupil progress through the Parent Portal and the Parent App
  • Cut down on assessment admin with straightforward marksheets, customisable report cards and automatic reminders for data collection 

The best thing is, you don’t have to be an expert to set up your assessments in Arbor. Use our handy guide below to choose a ready-to-go assessment approach, and get going straight away.  



What features are included in my package?

We have loads of different features that you can use to input, track and analyse progress and attainment. To find out how to upgrade your package, get in touch with your Account Manager.





Other requirements

Summative tracking default or custom marksheets


Progress and attainment analysis for summative assessment


Formative tracking markbooks and evidence logs




Formative assessment analysis




Linked to Summative Tracking to give Suggested Marks based on Curriculum Mastery



Need to also be using Summative assessments

DfE Assessment marksheets


DfE Assessment benchmarking and analysis


Third Party Assessment Dashboard (inc. PUMA/PIRA/SATs/NFER)

Must enable the integration

Built-in Report Cards (Long, Short and External)

Our newest Core package only

Have Parent Portal and App switched on to share these

Custom Report cards


Our newest Comms package only

Have Parent Portal and App switched on to share these

Improve attainment and progress over time with Interventions





What are the different assessment types?

To see more information about our assessment types and the names for different areas, please see: Glossary of key terminology for Assessments

Assessment frameworks

These are the assessment frameworks available to you:

  • Formative Tracking - record student's curriculum mastery completion - there aren't assessment periods or data drop times, as assessment is ongoing.
  • Summative Tracking - record point-in-time assessment results at key points (assessment periods) throughout the year. This includes summative and ad hoc assessment.
  • Formative and Summative Tracking combined - track both, and use formative marks to inform summative judgements.
Type 1 - Summative Tracking

Use Arbor’s Summative Tracking to record assessment results at key points throughout the year to measure student's overall knowledge and progress.

Create your own custom grade scales and grade sets (choose these when setting up the assessment) to record assessments on a monthly, half-termly, termly or annual basis, or use our ready-to-go summative assessments for Reading, Writing and Maths. You can create custom workflows around data collection cycles to notify and monitor the collection process closely.

You can also set target rules to specify the progress or attainment a student should make within a year and identify children who are not on track to achieve their end of year target. 

Within Summative tracking, you can follow one of two types of grading scale: 

  • A flat grade scale - Using a flat grade scale, a student is classed as making the expected level of progress if they achieve the same grade (or greater) each assessment period.
  • A rising grade scaleUsing a progressing grade scale, students are graded every year from the same grade set and are expected to rise up through the grades.

Things to be aware of:

  • You choose the Grade Point Scale and Grade Sets you want to use, so you'll need to decide on them before starting to set up the assessments.
  • There are no links to any curriculum statements so you will be unable to view the specific skills or areas of learning which students are struggling with or excelling in. 
Type 2 - Formative Tracking

Formative Tracking focuses on the specific skills students are achieving, marked on a continuous basis. It allows you to see the gaps in student’s understanding and where to prioritise your teaching and resources next.

You can upload a custom curriculum assessment to your site, or use one of the pre-made curriculums from NAHT Rising Stars or the DfE. You can tweak one of the freely available curriculums to make it work for your school - using an existing curriculum as a starting point is a lot easier than building your own from scratch!

Formative Tracking is also a great way of involving parents into the conversation, as curriculum statements and marks achieved can be made visible on Parent Portal. They can see exactly what children have achieved so far and what they need to do next in order to be successful.

Things to be aware of:
  • Formative Tracking is designed for in-year tracking, so cannot show progression year on year. To do this, you would need to use Formative and Summative Tracking combined.
  • Using formative tracking means that you expect students to be working within their current year group and that there is no intrinsic value in recording achievement from a previous year’s curriculum. 
  • Any students who are very far behind should be placed onto a ‘special curriculum’ as they are not working at their age-related expectation.
  • If you have a grade above 'meeting expectations', it will appear as if most of your students never reach full curriculum mastery.


Each curriculum is split into modules made up of curriculum statements. Each statement is marked with a grade on the Marking Scale, which feeds into the overall grade and measure of curriculum mastery.

Before setting up an assessment:

  • Choose which curriculum you will be assessed against - Rising Stars, the NAHT curriculum statements or your school's. (These are just a few examples.) Be sure to consider how big your curriculum is to minimise the marking burden on teachers. Alternatively, you could create your own curriculum and pick some key objectives students should be able to demonstrate.
  • Choose the marking scale and terminology you want to use, for example Emerging, Developing, Secure or Working Towards, Working At, Working Above etc.
  • Make sure you know what expectations are there for the curriculum by the end of the year?  For example, 'a student need to have achieved at least 80% of statements to be considered as having met their ARE.’
Type 3 - Formative and Summative Tracking combined

Using Curriculum and Summative Tracking combined means you can create ‘steps’ of progression over multiple years. First, you use the Curriculum Tracker to ‘benchmark’ where a student is against age-related expectations. You can then link the curriculum to a Summative Assessment to generate a suggested grade for the Summative Assessment.

This approach provides the granularity of the Curriculum Mastery (focussing at a classroom level on the individual curriculum objectives that children need to learn) while allowing you to track year on year progress.

You can identify students who are in need of extra support, as differences in curriculum and summative grades may highlight the need to look deeper. 


Students follow one of the curriculums linked to the summative assessment and are marked with a grade in the Marking Sale. Each Marking Scale corresponds to grade on the Summative Grade Scale and is used to generate a Suggested Mark on the Summative Grade Set. Students progress through each year's curriculum.

For example, Student A is in Year 2 and has completed 20% of the year 2 maths curriculum. Based on their curriculum marks, Arbor suggests a summative grade of Year 2 Emerging. The school then decide the target for Student A is to move from Year 2 Emerging at the start of the year to Year 2 Secure at the end of the year.

Things to be aware of:

  • We find schools mainly use a progressing grade scale for their Summative Assessments, as using a flat grade scale can make your data difficult to analyse.
  • The suggested grade provided by Arbor is based on a student’s curriculum coverage, so if the curriculum marking doesn’t reflect the ability of the student, Arbor will be unable to suggest a realistic grade.


Other assessment types

There are also additional assessment types available:

  • Ad Hoc - assess things normally not collected in standardised tests such as attitude to learning, or for extra non-academic assessments you would like to record.
  • DfE - Record and submit results for the end of key stage and phonics tests.
Ad Hoc assessments

Ad hoc assessments can be used to assess things normally not collected in summative tests, or for extra non-academic assessments you would like to record. They can be recorded at one point in the year or can be recorded regularly to accompany a grade achieved in a summative assessment by linking the ad hoc to the summative assessment marksheet. You can choose to assess all your students for all subjects, or only assess a specific subject or key stage.

There are two types of Ad Hoc assessments:

  • A stand-alone assessment - an assessment not linked to a particular subject or class, such as swimming distances. The assessment won't appear in marksheets and has its own separate area where marks can be input.
  • A linked Ad-hoc assessment - an assessment to support monitoring of students alongside their subject grades, such as an Attitude to Learning assessment. The ad hoc can be linked to particular courses and appear on the marksheet alongside their summative assessments.


DfE assessments

We developed a specialised area where you can input and analyse your DfE Assessment data, which is a statutory requirement for schools in England.

See how to add assessments, input marks and download the data to send off here.




How do we get started?

To get set up with all the assessments you'll need, click the button below to jump to the next step in your journey.

We'll walk you through how to set up your own assessments from scratch, or you can use our ready-to-go assessment approaches for reading, writing and maths assessments.

Build - Set up assessments

Do you offer training?

Our Customer Education specialists can offer in-depth support on how to use the areas covered in Begin Build Boost, and beyond for other areas of Arbor. Depending on the area, there are Foundation sessions, more in-depth consultations or a bespoke session.

To discuss what would best suit your school's needs, please contact your Account Manager.

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