Secondaries: Introduction to Arbor Assessments

We know schools need to be able to see assessment data quickly and easily, so there are a number of assessment types available to set up on Arbor depending on your needs.

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

What are the different assessment types?

We find secondary schools tend to use these assessment types:

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.

You can 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. 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. For example, a student in year 7 working at expected standard would be expected to be working at expected standard in year 8.

This scale is used for assessments spanning many years of assessments, as it provides greater granularity for tracking against age-related expectations. For example, if your year 7s to year 11s are all graded on a progressing grade scale, your year 7s will likely be all graded with a U, leaving little room for analysis.

A progress grade scale

Using a progressing grade scale, students are graded every year from the same grade set e.g. GCSE 1-9. For example, a student in year 9 working at level 2 might be expected to be working at level 6 by Year 11.

This scale can be simpler to explain to parents as they can see what the student needs to work towards. It's used to track student's progress at key points in the academic year, analyse whether students have made a certain number of steps of progress, and easily identify students who require more support. 


Students can be marked on a progressing grade set, showing progress across multiple assessment periods and across years, within one assessment. 

Progress 8

Progress 8 assessments are a type of summative assessment available in Arbor, used by secondaries to measure the progress of KS4 students. You can see further details of how Progress 8 works here.

Use Arbor’s Progress 8 assessments to record subject-specific assessment results with a pre-determined grade set - all you need to do is choose the course to link the assessment to and choose how often the student will be assessed.

Like summative assessments, you can 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, and you can use the same summative assessment analysis pages. 

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/progress 8 assessments.




How do we set up assessments in Arbor?

Ready-to-go assessments for Secondaries

We’ve created four ready-to-go assessment approaches for your science, technology and english  assessments - see how to set them up with our Assessment templates for Secondaries.

Setting up your own assessments

For other assessments, or if you've decided you want to create your own bespoke assessments, you can create your very own assessment framework in Arbor. Our expert consultants can work with you to help you tailor Arbor to suit your approach - contact your Account Manager for further details.

Click the links below for helpful articles on how to set up each type of assessment:

Step 1 - Define your Assessment Framework

The Assessment Framework includes all the supporting information that makes up an assessment, such as the grades that are used or the name of the assessment. You can manage grade point scales and grade sets, assessments that can be added to the Annual Policy and the marksheet settings such as which columns should be shown.

As Assessment Frameworks are typically only created once and last for a number of academic years (grade sets and the course name rarely change), this part of the assessments is separated out for a simpler yearly setup process.

Go to Students > Assessments > Assessment Framework > Assessment Catalogue to see all the assessments available at your school to run, and add new assessments.


Step 2 - Check your assessable courses

Once you have defined your Assessment Framework, you'll need to make sure you will be able to assess all the courses that should be assessed from Students > Assessments > Annual Policy > Assessable Courses.


Step 3 - Add assessments to your Annual Policy

The Annual Policy includes all aspects of assessments that are specific to an academic year, such as which assessments students are taking and Data Collection dates. In this section, you will also be able to manage your assessment periods, assessable courses, curriculum expectations, and schoolwide targets for the year. You'll need to add assessments to your Annual Policy every year to select which of your assessments you'll be using.

Go to Students > Assessments > Annual Policy > Manage Assessments to add your assessments.




Once your assessments have been set up, you can input marks and start to analyse results.

Setting targets

To set targets:

  • You can manually set targets from the Baselines & Targets page by adding them or importing them.
  • You can also set up Attainment or Progress Target rules to automatically set targets for groups of students within an assessment so that these don’t have to be set manually.

You can see how to add these here: Adding and locking Baselines and Targets

You can edit your Target Judgement rules to colour code your mark sheets depending on how you students are doing in their assessments relative to their targets.


Inputting marks and analysing assessment results

The way you can enter or Import marks and targets for Summative, Progress 8 or Ad Hoc assessments are accessible in different ways by different people:

Once your marks have been put in, view analysis for Summative, Ad Hoc and Progress 8 assessments in the Analysis section.  

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