Functional Skills Diagnostic Assessment

Pass Functional Skills offers the most up to date, free functional skills diagnostic tests for maths and English. We have two types of diagnostic, a functional skills initial assessment, which determines the level a learner should enter at and a Subject Knowledge Assessment which is a topic diagnostic that determines which topic areas learners need to work on most. We support Training Providers, Colleges and individual learners and have a dedicated support service for each one. We do not offer BKSB initial assessments.

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Functional Skills Initial Assessment

Our reformed functional skills initial assessment works in a different way to any other assessment, providing a more accurate insight into a learner’s current level. This is achieved through every question being carefully selected and weighted based on its level of difficulty and how it appears in the functional skills curriculum. The number of correct answers and corresponding weights are used to calculate an accurate reflection of the learner’s current level. Once the current level is established via the functional skills initial assessment, it sets a basis to track progress made.

Unlike any other functional skills learning system, the progress tracking is done in live time, so every time a learner answers a question their current level will update proportionally. Therefore, there is no requirement to continue to sit multiple diagnostic tests, which only give a snapshot of a learner’s progress. Through our courses, learners will see the progress being made every time they answer a question. Training Providers can not only use our diagnostic tools for free, you can register for a free account and attach your learners to it to monitor and track their results.

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Current Level

Current Level is the name given to the level of attainment a learner is currently at during one of our functional skills courses. This level is calculated from the very first initial assessment and updates each and every time a learner completes an exercise within the course. The way in which our Current Level system works is unique as it has been built using a complex algorithm that factors in the level of difficulty of each question type and applies an appropriate weighting to each one.

Our Current Level is unique as it doesn’t just apply a percentage score, the calculation takes into account the ability of a student to answer more difficult question types whilst adjusting the score less severely for potential gaps in knowledge on easier topic areas. The result is learners will be enrolled onto the correct course for their level of ability, then the course will ensure the gaps in knowledge are filled. No other initial assessment or diagnostic test works in this way and we believe our methodology is unique in identifying abled students that may have significant gaps in knowledge.

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Subject Knowledge Assessment Diagnostic Test

As well as the English and functional skills maths initial assessments, we also have what is called a Subject Knowledge Assessment (formerly known as the pre-assessment). Where the initial assessment determines which level a learner should enrol on, the Subject Knowledge Assessment identifies the specific topics that a learner needs to work on. This also enables you to recognise prior learning by seeing which topic questions a learner answers correctly, before they have completed any of the course material.

Both our functional skills initial assessments and Subject Knowledge Assessments are used by training providers to satisfy ESFA funding requirements. We are the only provider to offer such assessments without any registration or licence fee, you can use them as many times you want with no charge.

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Level Breakdown

Entry Level

Learner score would suggest little prior knowledge and potential issues with using the software. The learner is likely to need assistance with use of IT and additional support working through the resources. They could be entered for level 1 but are currently working at Entry Level.

Level 1 Course

Learner is ready to start the level 1 course. This will give them confidence and understanding of key concepts that are then developed further in the level 2 course.

Level 2 Course

Learner is ready to start the level 2 course.

Level 2 Course or Exam

Learner is exam ready. The learner could take the Subject Knowledge Assessment following the initial assessment to determine level 2 topics to revise. Additional study in the suggested areas would improve exam performance.


Yes, there is no catch, they are free for everyone to use.

It is an ESFA requirement to carry out an assessment of current level for those apprentices who do not have evidence of prior attainment of level 2 maths and English qualifications. These assessments must be carried out using tools based on the national literacy and numeracy standards and core curriculum, as stated by the ESFA funding rules. The Pass Functional Skills diagnostics tests help training providers to meet these requirements without incurring any cost.

Yes, the initial assessment will determine which level a learner is at and is suitable for those who think they may want to start at level 1.

Yes, our maths initial assessment diagnostic test covers level 1 and level 2.

Please email and the team will provide a quote for your specific requirements. We offer a complete service from diagnostics, to full functional skills courses as well as Ofqual regulated exams. We also provide physical resources and have expert tutors.

Yes, you can book the exams from the top menu.

Diagnostic tests refers to both initial assessments and Subject Knowledge Assessments. Both types of assessments diagnose something. The initial assessment diagnoses the level a learner is at and the Subject Knowledge Assessment diagnoses the topics within that level, that they need to work on.

Not if you take the qualification through our service, you have the freedom to choose.

We offer more free functional skills materials than any other service provider. We believe in giving learners access to as much free resources as possible which is why we have free course options and free diagnostic tests.

Yes, our assessments are different to the BKSB functional skills initial assessment. We have our own proprietary technology that is based on a complex algorithm that we believe gives the most accurate reflection of a leaners current level. You can also use our diagnostic tests for recognition of prior learning.

Yes, whether you are looking for a Pearson functional skills initial assessment or a City and Guilds functional skills initial assessment, our diagnostic assessments are relevant to all functional skills exam boards.

The current level of a student is a metric used to gauge what level a student is currently performing at, and changes overtime depending on how well the student performs on the course.