Running the BASE Assessment


  • Is easy to carry out, fun and engaging for children
  • Requires no teacher marking, the data are sent automatically to CEM for processing
  • Rapidly returns feedback, offering insight into:
    • Early Reading
    • Early Maths
    • Phonological Awareness
    • Personal Social and Emotional Development,
  • Is valid and reliable, as proven over more than 20 years

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.


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 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 harder. The adaptive nature enables you to gauge the child’s level of development in literacy and maths in a short amount of time.

There is no marking required – the data are sent directly to CEM for analysis.


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. Reports include:

  • scaled scores for each child in reading, mathematics and phonological awareness
  • indicators of the range of developmental stages within a class group
  • feedback on the progress made between the reception baseline and follow-up
  • comparison of progress made with the national norm
  • indicators of unusual profiles to inform interventions at an early stage