Ready-to-go Flat scale summative assessments

Since the introduction of the new National Curriculum and the ‘Assessment Without Levels’ approach to monitoring a pupil’s progress and attainment, schools have gained greater freedom to track pupils using their own frameworks in order to meet their specific needs.

We’ve found that schools adopt one of two frameworks for their summative assessments: Flat scale assessments and Rising Scale assessments. In this guide, we’ll walk through how to set up our flat scale assessments and what analysis you can do.

What is a flat scale assessment?

In this framework, pupils are marked against worded grades which do not relate to any specific year group.


The terminology used may differ, but essentially this framework embodies the ‘Point In Time’ approach to assessment i.e. the teacher judges whether an individual pupil is working at the required standard against the curriculum objectives which have been taught so far. 

To provide extra clarity, the grade for pupils working below their current year group can be split to show which pupils are working within the correct Key Stage and which are working below.

The flat scale available as part of our ready-to-go assessments includes the grades Significantly Below Age Related Expectations (SBLW), Working Below (BLW), Working Towards, (WTS), Working At (EXS) and Working Above (GDS).

If the grade set included in our out-of the box assessments aren't named what you need, you can:

Using one of the options above, you can change your scale to have different options, for example a HNM or has not met grade.



Measuring progress

  • A pupil would be expected to maintain or improve their grade e.g. EXS at baseline with a target of EXS at the end of the year.
  • If this pupil reached GDS they would be judged to have made greater than expected progress but will need to maintain the GDS mark next assessment period.
  • If this pupil ‘dropped’ to WTS they would have made less than expected progress.


Target expectations for a flat scale

Setting both attainment and progress target rules ensure students are working consistently at or above age-related expectations.

  • A progress target defines how many grades a student should progress by the end of the academic year. E.g. 0 points of progress using our ready-to-go flat scale assessments.
  • An attainment target defines the minimum grade the students should meet each year. All students will have the target to meet the expected standard, so all students will have a target of EXS.



Should we use this assessment framework?


  1. “Assessment Without Levels” - Schools are able to follow this approach as there is no linear progression
  2. Raising Expectations - Focus is on the expectation that pupils will maintain or improve their attainment against ARE
  3. Arbor Set up - This is quick and easy as all year group targets for progress and attainment are identical and baselines can be matched to Reception or KS1 prior attainment
  4. Teacher Workload - Marking using this scale is quick and easy for teachers using the bulk marking mode
  5. Underperforming Pupils - Analysis easily shows which pupils are working below their progress target or ARE
  6. Parents - The terminology is easy to explain. Their child will maintain or improve their attainment grade rather than moving through ‘levels’


  1. SEN pupils - It is more difficult to track the progress of SEN pupils as individuals could remain Working Below throughout the year, the Key Stage or their school career
  2. Separate assessments - A separate assessment may be necessary to track SEN pupils’ progress more effectively


Setting up our ready-to-go flat scale assessments

First, download the three templates found at the bottom of this article. Don’t open the files!


Step 1 - Add your assessments to your assessment catalogue (10 minutes)

In Arbor, go to Students > Assessments > Assessment Framework > Assessment Catalogue. Click the Create new assessment button.



On the next page, scroll down to the bottom and click Import Template.



Click Browse to select one of the templates from your computer, then click Import Template.



In the next step, review the details then click to Complete setup.



You can then return to the Assessment Catalogue to add your other imported assessments.



You’ll need to add all three assessment templates in this way. Please note that when you add the other two, you will see errors like the example below regarding your grade scale, but you can ignore these and proceed with the import.



Step 2 - Add your assessments to your Annual Policy (5 minutes)

Next, you’ll need to add all three assessments to your Annual Policy. You can do this for all three assessments at once!

Go to Students > Assessments > Annual Policy > Manage Assessments. Click the green button to add them.



In step 1, select Summative assessment, and select the three ready-to-go assessments, then click Next.



In the next and final step, select year groups 1 to 6 in the Students field, select how often these assessments will be assessed, and which courses this should be linked to.

Please note: You’ll need to link the assessments to the overarching courses to allow teachers to easily access the marksheet. In this example, my teachers for forms 1RE and 1SE will be able to access the marksheet through the My Items > My Classes because I’ve linked the assessments to the Year 1 course.



Step 3 - Set your Target Rules (5 minutes)

You can set both attainment and progress target rules for each assessment to measure whether students are working consistently at or above the same level.

To do this, go to Students > Assessments > Annual Policy > School Expectations, and select the assessment.



Click to add a new rule, and first select a Progress Target Rule.

This will define how many grades a student should progress by the end of the academic year. As a student is expected to be at the same grade each year, this should be set to 0 grades progress. In the slide over, set the fields as shown below, then click Create.



Next, click to add another rule, this time selecting Attainment Target Rule. This will define what grade students should reach by the end of the year, so all students will have a target of EXS. In the slide over, set the fields as shown below, then click Create.



Your target rules will now be set up! You’ll need to repeat this for your other two assessments.



Step 4 - Check your other settings and targets (10 minutes)

You can rename the target columns on your marksheets in Students > Assessments > Assessment Framework > Targets. Take a look at this article for how to change the names and where these names will show.



You can amend your Target Judgement Rules to make sure the marksheets will be colour coded depending on how your students are doing in their assessments relative to their targets. Take a look at this article for how to set these in Students > Assessments > Assessment Framework > Targets > Target Judgement Rules > Target Judgements.



Then you can set the marksheet columns to include demographic information your teachers will want to see in Students > Assessment > Assessment Framework > Marksheet Settings. We recommend no more than 3 to avoid the marksheet becoming too cluttered. 



Step 5 - Add in past marks and baselines (30 minutes)

You’ll need to set baselines for your assessments you’ve set up - you can see how to do this here: Adding and locking Baselines and Targets.  Using a flat scale, you can quickly set baselines for students in multiple year groups all at once! Baselines need to be set in order for the progress targets to calculate.

Your teachers and SLT will now be able to mark these assessments! Take a look at our section on summative assessments for more details!


Analysis and Reporting

Arbor’s assessment analysis pages in Students > Assessment > Summative Tracking > Analysis offer a wide range of options to group and present assessment data. These can be used to explore attainment and progress in individual and combined subjects for individual pupils, cohorts, key stages, demographic groups and the whole school. 

This section will demonstrate how to see some Key Performance Indicators each group of stakeholders commonly look for, but there’s much more you can do with our analysis pages. Why not check out our Help Centre articles for more?

Strategic Leaders (Governers, Trust Boards, MATs)

KPI 1 - Percentage of pupils, demographic and ethnic groups at or above Age Related Expectations in Reading, Writing and Maths and combined

Best place to see this KPI - Overview Dashboard

  • This feature enables each school to build a customised dashboard, using current teacher assessment or standardised test results
  • The format matches that of the DfE assessment pages in Arbor which means that the attainment of cohorts and groups can be directly compared
  • Using a flat scale, you’ll be wanting to check that the percentage of students achieving the measure is as close to 100% as possible, as this will mean all your students are achieving the expected standard or greater depth.



By clicking into each box, further data will appear showing each year group, demographic and ethnic group’s attainment against the whole school average.



Clicking a year group, demographic or ethnic group bar will provide pupil-level data. 



The In-Year Trend tab demonstrates patterns over time.




Another place to view the number and percentage of pupils at age-related expectations for Reading, Writing, Maths and combined, by Year Group and demographics (such as Pupil Premium), is the Attainment Expectations page. 

Combined figures are shown at the far right of the table, and you can choose in the filters to display data by year group or click a group to view pupil-level data.



KPI 2 - Percentage of pupils maintaining their attainment grade and making expected progress in Reading, Writing and Maths and combined

Best place to see this KPI - Attainment Expectations

Combined figures are shown at the far right of the table, and you can choose in the filters to display data by year group or click a group to view pupil-level data.

No matter your scale, you’ll be looking at the percentage of students working below their targets and identifying room for improvement for certain groups of students.



Senior and Subject leaders

Some example OFSTED Subject Leader questions you can use our analysis to help answer:

  • What are the arrangements for assessment, recording and reporting? 
  • How well are students doing in your subject? 
  • Are there any groups of students who do better or worse than the majority?  
  • How is assessment information used to inform planning?   


KPI 1 - How well are students doing in the selected subject?

The Attainment Over Time page can be used to track a single subject for any group of pupils, term by term, as a graph or a table displaying statistics or pupil names.

Areas of concern can be quickly identified:

  • individual pupils who may need support, 
  • teachers who may need further training to address specific areas of subject knowledge 
  • whole school issues




The Grade Distribution page will show multiple subjects for chosen pupil groups. This is particularly useful for discussions with teachers about attainment and progress across subject areas. 

Leaders with non-subject specific responsibilities can filter to show e.g. SEN pupils only or those who are SEN and Looked After Pupils.



The chart view quickly displays areas of concern, like in this example you can see Yr 6 Reading where 50% of pupils are working below expected.



The Attainment Expectations page can be used to display a range of comparative groups for one or more subject areas. In this example, Pupil Premium pupils in Yr 5 are outperforming their Non-PP peers.



KPI 2 - Groups of students doing better or worse in attainment or progress than the majority

Best place to see this KPI - Statistics

A range of comparative groups can be displayed to show attainment and progress on one chart. As with all tables, you can click the headers to sort students by most or least progress from baselines.

  • Using our ready-to-go flat scale assessments, if your students are on average working at their age-related expectations, you’ll be looking for all your students to make 0 points of progress each year. 
  • If they made negative points of progress, they could have moved from working at EXS to working at WTS or BLW, below the expected standard. In this example, you can see that the male students are making just under the expected amount of progress.



Classroom Teachers

KPI 1 - Individual pupils not achieving their age-related expectations

Use the Attainment Over Time page to see multiple subjects on one sheet, viewing the pupil names, and use this to create teaching groups or keep track of any pupils who change grades during the year. For a flat scale assessment, you’ll be wanting all your students to be working at EXS or GDS.

  • Teachers can use this page to enrol students directly into teaching groups or interventions and formulate strategies to help them reach the expected standard. 
  • You can also use the list of students to or keep track of any pupils who change grades during the year, for example, if they’ve dropped from the EXS group to the BLW group.



For Pupil Progress meetings, class teachers could use the Attainment Expectations page, grouping by demographics and identifying why specific pupils have performed better than expected or fallen behind in progress or attainment.



KPI 2 - Individual pupils not making the expected amount of progress

Class teachers can use the Statistics page and group by the student’s names to identify any pupils who are making more or less progress than expected or falling below ARE.



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