Assessment in Abacus

Discover how integrated Progress and Assess tools together with the rest of the assessment tools provide all Abacus schools with everything they need to support ongoing judgements about how children meet curriculum expectations.

Assessment in your school - two years on!

At the end of March the government launched their consultation on the future of the primary assessment system, marking almost two years since the abolition of the national curriculum levels for statutory assessments.

In response to this announcement in 2015 we updated the assessment tools and resources in Abacus.The purpose was to ensure that all Abacus schools have access to integrated Progress and Assess tools which, together with the rest of the assessment tools in Abacus, would provide everything the schools need to support ongoing judgements about how children are faring against curriculum expectations.

We’re currently researching what to do next in Abacus, and are collecting feedback from teachers who use the Abacus differently from one another. One teacher had only just discovered the built-in assessment tools, whilst others had been using them for a couple of years.

As part of our commitment to improve Abacus based on user feedback, we’ve developed a number of case studies to highlight how different schools are using the service, bringing about great results. Deborah Hodgin, the Deputy Headteacher at Holy Trinity CofE Primary School, told us that the Progress and Assess tools in Abacus are having a big impact on pupil progress:  

“The progression maps in Abacus highlight everything that the children should cover, and the teachers can cross the skills off as each pupil masters them. The online tracking built into Abacus has enabled us to become much more aware of which pupils need extra help, which allows us to close the gap. We quickly pick up and address areas where further work is needed, which wouldn’t be possible with just an end-of-year test. Overall, attainment is improving because children are given support more quickly than before.”

As well as integrated assessment tracking tools, Abacus also contains assessment tests to help track progress. Anne-Marie Black, Maths Coordinator at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Multi Academy Trust in Essex, told us that she is delighted to have access to these tests - perfectly matched to Abacus: “It’s great to have the assessment integrated into Abacus. We use the new tests for both assessment and practice. It’s also great that we can export all assessment data from ActiveLearn as this allows us to upload and store the data elsewhere and to report on specific pupil groups like Pupil Premium and EAL.”

If you subscribe to Abacus and haven’t discovered these tools yet, take a look at the ‘Resources’ area in ActiveLearn Primary - in the ‘Abacus Resource’ filter you’ll find three types of Progress & Assess resource - Assessment Test, Assessment Guide and Progression Map.

End-of-year tests

A teacher told us recently: “I wish Abacus had end-of-year tests. I have to buy tests from elsewhere, and they’re not a great match.” She was delighted when she heard that there are Progress & Assess end-of-year tests (matched to Abacus) in handy printed packs! The tests help to prepare children for end of key stage tests and help you assess how children are doing against Age Related Expectations before they move into the next year.

Abacus has plenty of other assessment tools too - like the new mastery checkpoints, which are perfect for assessing whether your class is ready to move onto the next topic! Because Abacus is a service, it will continue to evolve in line with your feedback - so please keep telling us what you love, and what we could improve!

Half-termly tests

There are written tests for the end of each half term - progress checks for
Year 1, and both arithmetic and problem solving and reasoning tests for Years 2 to 6 (designed to emulate the end of key stage national assessments). Written by maths experts in line with our progression maps, the tests are perfect to use alongside Abacus.

We’ve also created easy buy packs of printed tests - printed in colour, and on
dyslexia-friendly cream paper with our specially designed dyslexia-friendly
font, enabling children to concentrate on the maths without struggling to read the questions.

Progression maps 

These sit at the heart of Progress & Assess Maths. They give you a rigorous
structure for progress that is based on a deep understanding of how children’s learning develops and what the Age Related Expectations are.

Assessment Guides

The Guide for each Year tells you everything you need to administer and mark the maths tests, including guidance on how to administer the tests, question-level commentary, a detailed progression map for the relevant years
and a detailed mark scheme.

Tracking tools

When you input your maths test results into ActiveLearn, the platform will
allow you to track the attainment of each pupil. You can choose to view results as raw scores, percentages, or performance against Age Related Expectations, and see a Class Results graph for a visual representation of how everyone’s doing. You can add notes for your own record too!

Read the full case studies referenced in this blog

Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Multi Academy Trust  

Useful links

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