FAQs and Implementation Notes for Diagnostics & Focus 5

Written by Stuart Welsh
on 12 September 2023
Blog Title

Improved Diagnostics and Focus 5 have landed but what can teachers do to get the most from these new features?

In this article, our expert Maths Team answers some common questions and offers suggestions on implementation. 

But first, answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the functionality of Diagnostics & Focus 5.

Functional FAQs

Q. If new pupils get taken straight to the new Diagnostics on first login, what about existing pupils?

A. Existing pupils will find a new section on their TUTOR Dashboard, which will allow them to open up the new TUTOR Diagnostics process.

Q. Can pupils stop part way through the new diagnostics and resume where they left off?

A. Yes, they can use the ‘I’ll do this later’ button to skip through to the Dashboard. From there, they will be able to resume the Diagnostics from the Diagnostics section.

Q. What has happened to the old diagnostics, and diagnostic recommendations?

A. All of this is still live and available, only it’s under the new name ‘Course Finder’. Courses that were assigned to pupils will still be assigned, with all progress retained. Pupils can even still use the ‘Course Finder’ (old diagnostic) tool to get Course recommendations if desired.

Q. Now there is Focus 5, what about all assigned Courses?

A. All assigned courses are still active, and available just beneath Focus 5 on the pupil’s dashboard. New courses can still be assigned by pupils, teachers, or the Course Finder tool. 

Q. What are Focus 5 Goals like for pupils?

A. Goals accessed via Focus 5 are the exact same as Goals in Courses. They contain the same steps including Readiness, Learn, Do, Quiz, and are completed in the same way. Any goals completed in F5 Courses, will also become completed in corresponding Courses. Activity in a Focus 5 Goal counts towards a pupil's Mathematical Universe, their Weekly Goal Targets, their XP, and their Awards. 

Q. What sort of Goals will be recommended in the Focus 5?

A. Focus 5 recommendations begin with the earliest insecure mathematical content identified for a pupil, and build from there — plugging knowledge gaps first, before moving onto new, often dependent mathematical ideas. Pupils should expect to see the 'earliest' maths at the beginning of their Focus 5 journey, and will move onto later maths once their mathematical security across various topics has been topped up.

Q. What can teachers see about a pupil’s Focus 5 activity?

A. At the moment, Teachers can review pupil activity on Focus 5 goals in the same place as activity on Course goals — on the Pupils table. Goals completed, and quizzes taken from both Focus 5 and Courses are combined here.

Implementation Suggestions from our Maths Team

And now some suggestions from our in-house Maths team on implementation of New Diagnostics and Focus 5.

Q. I am new to TUTOR. Should we do the diagnostics straight away?

A. Yes. The sooner your pupils complete the diagnostic, the sooner TUTOR can start helping to fill their individual knowledge gaps. In the “light touch” implementation, just run the diagnostics and let Focus 5 serve up the most appropriate goals for your pupils to work on. Gap filling begins straight away!

Q. I’ve been using TUTOR for a while. My pupils are working on assigned stage courses. Should they stop and do the new diagnostics immediately?

A. Yes. The first version of TUTOR diagnostics recommended a single starting point in the curriculum but this new version goes a big step beyond that and recommends multiple starting points within topics. The topics where gaps are identified are then worked on starting with the earliest identified gaps. Moving away from the assigned stage courses and following the Focus 5 recommendations will mean a much more personalised learning sequence for your pupils. 

Q. I’ve been using TUTOR for a while. My pupils are working on specific target courses. Should they stop and do the new diagnostics immediately?

A. It is not essential to stop and complete the new diagnostics.  If you have identified a target course and your pupils are making good progress, then you may choose to keep them on this pathway. Doing the new diagnostics will fill their new Focus 5 page with goals from topics where gaps have been identified but they may not be goals from the target course. If pupils have the time to work on both the target course and the goals in their Focus 5 then they will benefit from Focus 5 “gap filling” whilst also making progress in their target courses. 

Q. I’ve been using TUTOR for a while. My pupils are working on bespoke courses that I (or one of my colleagues) have created. Should they stop and do the new diagnostics immediately?

A. Similar to Target courses, it is not essential to stop and complete the new diagnostics. If you have built a bespoke course and your pupils are making good progress then you may decide just to keep them on that pathway. Doing the new diagnostics will fill their new Focus 5 page with goals from topics where gaps have been identified but they may not be goals from the bespoke course. If pupils have time to work on both the bespoke course and the goals in their Focus 5 then they will benefit from Focus 5 “gap filling” whilst also making progress in their bespoke courses. 

Q. Should pupils complete the new diagnostic in class, or can they do it at home?

A. Pupils can do the diagnostic anywhere but given the increased personalisation the new diagnostics will bring, you might want to consider having pupils take the diagnostic in class under supervision. That means you (or a colleague) will be on hand to clarify any doubts and to encourage pupils to take their time when responding and think carefully about each question. The more accurate the information TUTOR receives during the diagnostic, the more the suggested learning sequence will match the pupil. 

Q. How long will the new diagnostics take? Can I get them through it in one lesson?

A. After extensive testing and running literally thousands of simulations, we have determined that a pupil with significant gaps dotted all over the curriculum will be offered around 20 questions before they will complete the diagnostic and TUTOR can provide a personalised learning sequence. Pupils with fewer (or more tightly concentrated) gaps will be offered fewer questions. It will vary from pupil to pupil but we estimate that responding to a question should take between 30 and 60 seconds. So, we predict that almost every pupil will complete the new diagnostic in under 15 minutes.

Q. How much involvement should teachers have in the diagnostic?

A. It can be tempting to help pupils with the diagnostic but we must remember that TUTOR needs to determine an accurate picture of what the pupil knows and doesn’t know. To get a true and honest representation of their current knowledge level, pupils should be completing the diagnostic unaided. 

Q. Should pupils try to work out answers to the questions, even though TUTOR doesn’t require them to give one?

A. Yes. This is  not mandatory but by attempting a question, pupils will be better placed to assess whether they are competent or not. However, the vast majority of questions in the improved diagnostic involve identification, explanation, exemplification or justification. TUTOR is not trying to test calculation skill, rather it is trying to determine depth of understanding of concepts and methods.

Q. Should pupils be allowed a calculator for the new diagnostics?

A. No. Our Maths Team wrote a brand new set of questions for the improved diagnostics. Very few of these questions require calculations to be completed. Instead, the questions are designed to give TUTOR an indication of the level of conceptual understanding the user has within the various topics. The majority of the questions involve identification, explanation, exemplification or justification. For the small number of questions that require calculations, there are various written methods that could be applied. TUTOR is not trying to test calculation skill, rather it is trying to determine depth of understanding of concepts and methods.

We’re really excited about the positive impact the upgraded Diagnostics and Focus 5 will have for all pupils using TUTOR. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss these updates with one of our team, then please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you haven't already, check out our Diagnostics & Focus 5 release blog here for more information.