Ready-to-go Rising 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 rising scale assessments and what analysis you can do.

What is a rising scale assessment?

In this framework, pupils are marked against grades which relate to a specific year group. The underlying points track the progress of pupils through the grades.


The terminology used may differ, but essentially this framework embodies the linear progress approach to assessment i.e. the teacher judges how much of the total curriculum pupils have understood by the end of each term, working through the grades towards maximum understanding of the curriculum by the end of the year.

Typically, this would mean a pupil is WTS in Autumn, WTS or EXS in Spring and EXS or GDS in Summer. Some schools prefer to add a grade within WTS e.g. Developing so that a pupil is WTS in Autumn, DEV in Spring and EXS/GDS in Summer.

To provide extra clarity, the grade for pupils working below their current year group can be precisely matched to the year group curriculum they have reached e.g. a child in Year 5 with additional needs can be assessed using the Year 2 curriculum within the same grade set as their peers.

There is a variety of terminology currently used in schools, shown below for year 3 assessments:


The table below shows the rising scale grades scale available as part of our ready-to-go assessments, from year 1 to year 6.

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



Measuring progress

  • The EYFS grades are included to ensure that pupils working on the Early Years curriculum in Year 1 can be tracked appropriately. 
  • A pupil would be expected to rise through the grades during the year e.g. 3 EXS at Baseline with a target of 4 EXS at the end of the year.
  • If this pupil reached 3 GDS they would be judged to have made greater than expected progress.
  • If this pupil ‘dropped’ to 3 WTS they would have made less than expected progress.


Target expectations for a rising 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. 3 points of progress using our ready-to-go rising scale assessments.
  • An attainment target defines the minimum grade the students should meet each year. You can set an attainment target for each year group of working at the expected standard for their year group, so a student in Year 3 will have a target of Y3 EXS.



Should we use this assessment framework?


  1. “Assessment Without Levels” - Schools can define their own system of levels through which the pupil rises over time.
  2. Raising Expectations - Expectation is that pupils will move through the scale to maintain or improve their attainment against ARE
  3. Teacher Workload - Marking using this scale is quick and easy for teachers using the bulk marking mode
  4. Underperforming Pupils - Analysis easily shows which pupils are working below their progress target or ARE
  5. Parents - The terminology is similar to that used in the previous National Curriculum.  Their child will move through the grades during the year.


  1. Analysis - Some analysis is more complex as the entire grade scale will be displayed
  2. “Assessment Without Levels” - Not consistent with an Assessment Without Levels model
  3. Arbor Set up - This takes slightly longer as year group benchmarks for attainment are different and initial baselines will need to be matched to the appropriate Year Group grades


Setting up our ready-to-go rising 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. This should be set to 3 grades progress, so in one year a student should move from Y3 EXS to Y4 EXS. 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 each year group of students should have a different target set. For example, Year 1 should have a target of Y1 EXS and Year 5, Y5 EXS.

In the slide over, set the fields as shown below, then click Create. You’ll need to repeat this for each year group.



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. You’ll need to set different baselines for each year group. For example, for Year 1 you may want to set a baseline of Y1 WTS. 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 two 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 rising scale, you’ll be looking at whether the percentage of students achieving the measure is increasing year on year, and in each assessment period.



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 Attainment Expectations page can be used to display a range of comparative groups for one or more subject areas. In this example, 60% of boys in Year 2 and girls in Year 1 are working slightly below their progress target in Reading.



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.

  • If they made less than 3 points of progress, they could have moved from working at the expected standard to working below. 
  • If they performed on average below the expected standard last year, you’ll be looking for more than 3 points of progress to bring them in line with their age-related expectations this year. 
  • In this example, you can see that Year 4 are making less than the expected amount of progress, even though 90% are at or above their age-related expectations.



Classroom Teachers

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

Use the Grade Distribution page to see multiple subjects on one sheet, viewing the pupil names, and use this to create teaching groups. Teachers can use this page to enrol students directly into teaching groups or interventions and formulate strategies to help them reach the expected standard.

For a rising scale assessment, you’ll be wanting all your students to be working at EXS or GDS for their year group, for example, Y1 EXS.

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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