Diagnostic Assessments

Updates 2021

The diagnostic assessments and supporting documentation were updated in 2019 with some further updates in 2021.  The versions that have been updated are marked below. 

Self-paced training is available to support the use of the assessments and can be found here.  Please note that the training does not reflect the changes made to the 2021 updates to the Grouping and Place Value and Basic Facts assessments but the general principles from the training still apply and it is still relevant – just use the updated assessment forms when completing your own assessments.

For schools/teachers who are already fully implementing the use of the diagnostic assessments, it may be useful to read the guidance notes/access the training for a refresh however the updated assessments will not mean that you need to start from scratch again.  When you next reassess your pupils, you can do it just as you would if you were using the older versions but complete the reassessment on the updated version.

If you wish to access the older versions of the assessments (from 2015), these are still available on Glow for staff within Highland Council.  Older versions that have been updated since 2019 are still available on the Highland Numeracy Shared Drive in the relevant ‘Archives’ sections.

Supporting Documents (Updated May 2019)

  • Counting and part-whole strategies: Stages of Thinking (Updated May 2019)
    This provides an overview of the stages of thinking cross referencing Maths Recovery stages and the stages described in the New Zealand Numeracy Project so that staff can more easily move between the three resources if they wish.
  • Coding Sheet for Diagnostic Assessments (New May 2019)
    This provides guidance on codes that could be used in the ‘comments’ section of the assessment so that consistent codes/information are being used from person to person so that when the assessments are passed on to a new teacher, they make more sense.  It also reduces the amount that you potentially need to write when recording a pupil’s thinking.

Strategy Assessments (Updated May 2019):

Addition and Subtraction (Updated May 2019)

  • Guidance Document: Addition and Subtraction (Updated May 2019)
    Updated to include additional information to support use and also to reflect additions to the assessment such as the optional scoring system.
  • Response and Level Guidance Add Sub (Update 26.06.19) (Updated June 2019)
    Added to provide support to staff using the assessments in terms of interpreting pupil responses and identifying the strategies that they might have used.  Some guidance is given as to the approximate level of different strategies but those using the assessments need to keep in mind that the stage decided on will be as a result of a combination of the strategies used across several questions.
  • Assessment: Addition and Subtraction (Updated May 2019)
    The update includes optional supplementary questions that may help to gain more information about a pupils stage and the strategies they are using.
    There is also an additional optional scoring system that teachers/schools may use if they wish to track smaller improvements for specific pupils or measure smaller changes following intervention.
  • Problem cards: Addition and Subtraction (Update May 2019)
    The update includes problem cards for the newer supplementary questions in the assessment.

Multiplication and Division (Due for update in 2020)

Assessment – multiplication and division

Problem cards – multiplication and division assessment

Guidance – Assessment for multiplication and division

Fractions (We are currently working on a whole class assessment for this and hope it will be available more widely in 2022 – this will be a significant update to the current materials.)

Assessment – fractional numbers

Assessment – fractions, proportions and ratios

Problem cards – fractions

Knowledge Assessments (Updated October 2019 and August 2021)

Guidance Document – Knowledge Assessments (Updated October 2019)
*Note some changes will be made soon to reflect the 2021 adjustments to the Grouping and Place Value and Basic Facts assessments.
This guidance document includes information related to:

  • The delivery and scoring of the knowledge assessments.
  • Answers, points to consider, things to look out for and common misconceptions in each of the knowledge assessments.
  • An explanation about the planned digital assessments which will be available publicly in early 2020.
  • An explanation as to how to analyse the results.

Knowledge Assessments, Problem Cards and Digital Versions:

These  diagnostic assessments have been developed based on the Diagnostic Interview from the New Zealand Numeracy Project and Maths Recovery assessments.  They have been adapted to link to the stages of the Highland Numeracy Progression and Curriculum for Excellence levels.

This is a useful link to the NZ maths website, where you can download the Diagnostic Interview in full: NZ Numeracy Project – Diagnostic Interview

Please contact me if you would like guidance on delivering this assessment, or have any questions.

Analysing the results and identifying gaps

Assessment Overview MASTER(Updated June 2019 – Draft Version)
The spreadsheet has been created to help schools using the assessments more easily see their results ‘at a glance’.  It will also allow teachers/schools to:

  • More easily identify strengths and gaps in individual pupils, groups of pupils or whole classes.
  • See trends in terms of strengths and gaps across groups, classes and potentially the whole school.
  • Track progress over time.

The following video provides an overview of how to use the document:
*Please note this video was made using an older version of the spreadsheet but the same principles still apply.

8 Responses to Diagnostic Assessments

  1. Pingback: How can we spark a love of maths? | Highland Numeracy Blog

  2. Kim Irwin says:

    Hello there. I am very interested in using these diagnostic assessments for our catch-up groups in Y7. I work at an 11-18 school based in Shropshire, UK. I am hoping to start trying out with some students over the next few weeks so would be very grateful for any tips or advice you might have. Thank you 🙂


  3. Pingback: Highland Diagnostic Assessment Updates | Highland Numeracy Blog

  4. Miss MacLean says:

    Hi, is there a digital powerpoint version for the multiplication test available?


    • Hi,
      There isn’t. One wasn’t made because we were planning on updating that assessment but as the council no longer has a development officer it seems unlikely that this will happen any time soon. That being the case I will put the multiplication one in the same format as the others so people can use it a bit more easily until it is updated. I’ll aim to do it by the end of next week if I get a chance.


  5. Deborah Wrightson says:

    Will there be a third level assessment on offer at any point in the future?


    • Hi Deborah,
      As with the comment I just made about the multiplication assessment, we did have plans to make one for Third Level but with the council no longer having a development officer it seems unlikely that this will be done. If I do it as part of the other work I’m involved in I will share it more widely though.
      We do have a series of fractions assessments (one of which will span third level) which have been in development for a while and were piloted last year. I’m hoping to make these more publicly available at some point this year.


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