Ready to try or buy the assessment?


You will be able to:

  • Try BASE
  • See example feedback reports
  • View feedback from assessments taken through CEM


You will be able to:

  • Buy BASE and other CEM Primary Assessments for your school
  • Try BASE
  • See example feedback reports
  • Approve links with and grant access for Individual Accounts

Why do I need to create an account?

In order to try the BASE assessment or browse the sample feedback reports, you will need to create either an Individual Account or a School Admin Account on our CEM Secure server. Creating an account involves no obligation.

BASE is only available for use in schools – therefore it can only be purchased by a School Admin Account, and only one School Admin Account can exist per school.

You can link your Individual Account to one or many School Admin Accounts as appropriate. Please note, the School Admin Account will always need to confirm you as a staff member. This will enable individual teachers or data managers to view feedback or information through their Individual Account, when appropriate access rights are granted by the School Admin Account.

Already have a CEM Secure* account? Login here.

*Please note, CEM Secure requires a different login to any existing accounts you have for specific systems, e.g., you cannot use your PIPS+ login to access CEM Secure.

Our Reception Baseline assessment

For the many schools who know our PIPS assessment, BASE will feel familiar but new. BASE is carried out at the start of the year but can also be done again at the end to show the progress children have made within the reception year.

The BASE assessment takes just 15-20 minutes, and Milly the Bug guides each child through the questions. Trials show that children respond positively to the assessment overall, and can’t stop talking about Milly the Bug!

Milly and her friends guide children through the following areas of assessment:

BASE Reading exampleLiteracy: Vocabulary acquisition is assessed by asking the child to identify certain objects within a scene. The ‘Ideas About Reading’ section assesses understanding of reading fundamentals (e.g. show me some writing, show me a letter) for those children who are starting to learn to read. Reading is then assessed using a combination of tasks such as letter recognition, word recognition and comprehension.

Phonological awareness is an important precursor to reading, so BASE also assesses a child’s ability to hear and repeat unfamiliar words of single and multiple syllables.

BASE Maths exampleMaths: The ‘Ideas About Maths’ section assesses understanding of mathematical concepts (e.g., bigger/smaller, taller/shorter). Other questions cover number identification, shape recognition, problem solving and simple arithmetic.

Communication: An observation-based assessment of communication skills, completed by the teacher according to your observations of each child.

Research has found these areas to be critical for later educational success. However, other areas are also very important for children’s development, therefore BASE Progress and BASE Inspection Ready include an observation-based assessment of Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: The teacher or teaching assistant completes this assessment on the basis of his/her observations of the child in the school setting. It covers several areas of development, such as communication and confidence. The teacher or teaching assistant selects the level that best describes the child’s behaviour at that time.

Start and end of year assessment: We believe that the progress each child makes during the reception year is critical and we encourage schools to use BASE again at the end of the year to capture that development.

How is CEM’s reception baseline assessment carried out?

An initial assessment should be carried out within the first few weeks of a child’s entry into Reception. An optional follow-up assessment can be carried out in the last few weeks of term – this allows you to track each child’s development since their initial assessment.

The reception baseline assessment runs on a computer or laptop, and is carried out one-to-one with a teacher or teaching assistant working with each child in a quiet corner. There is no need to leave the classroom.

The reception baseline assessment takes just 15-20 minutes, and is made up of a series of fun activities for the child. Colourful pictures are shown, and the child is asked a series of questions about each scene. The teacher or teaching assistant records the answers on the computer or laptop.

Once you have registered, the reception baseline assessment is accessed through our secure website and is available for using online or offline depending on your internet connection. A unique feature of our assessment is that it is adaptive. An adaptive algorithm controls which questions the child sees based on how they have answered previous questions. If a child gets several questions incorrect, they are moved on to the next section at an appropriate level. Conversely, if a child continues to get a sufficient number of questions correct they will progress further through the reception baseline assessment with questions getting more difficult. The adaptive nature enables you to gauge the child’s level of development in literacy and maths in a short amount of time, in a way that engages the child and enables him/her to show what they know and can do.

There is no marking, data entry or out-of–school training required – the data are sent directly to CEM for analysis and reports are available shortly afterwards.

The reception baseline assessment offers you valuable one-to-one time with each pupil right at the beginning of their school life, enabling you to see very quickly what each pupil knows or does not know.

Feedback reports from the reception baseline assessment can be used to develop appropriate learning plans for each individual child. See the types of feedback reports you can receive.

Watch a Reception Baseline Assessment in action

What the Research Says

Decades of research have shown it is possible to find out what young children know and can do by asking them questions, and that gathering information in this way is reliable and valid. Importantly, this can be done in a way that children find enjoyable, and is beneficial to the teacher.

This approach is most appropriate for cognitive development, including children’s early language and mathematics. There are risks in trying to do this through observation on its own because key features of development may simply not be exhibited. It is also established that observational results vary from observer to observer, even following moderation.

Observation may also miss out important aspects of a child’s development. For example a child may have a sophisticated understanding of mathematical concepts but not display this understanding in their everyday interactions with others.

These are just some of the reasons why we at CEM suggest using a variety of approaches to assess young children. This includes asking them questions in a standardised format to gain an understanding of what they know and can do in the areas of language, early reading and numeracy.

It is important that an assessment at the start of reception should be efficient so that the information can be put to use very quickly. Although children might demonstrate their skills through their everyday activities and interactions, it can take a long time for a teacher to observe a full class of children. If information is available to teachers at an early stage in the school term, they can use this time proactively to provide appropriate learning activities.

Interested in the research behind reception baseline assessment?

Take a look at the evidence we submitted to the government as part of the consultation process.


Get in touch for a chat and a short demonstration of our assessments.

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