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P Scales

Introduction to P Scales

' P scales comprise of a series of sets of differentiated performance criteria describing attainment below level 1 '

Introduction to P Scales

This area contains information and resources about inclusion P Scales.

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SEN Progression Amendments

We would like to make you aware of the following amendments on page 18 and page 24 of the booklet. Please could you inform your schools and any relevant officers of the following changes:

SEN Progression Guidance
User-Friendly Guide for P Scale Assessment

As you know P Scales will be statutory from 2008 for pupils with special educational needs who are teacher-assessed as 'level' W.

The school and Local Authority software will apply the appropriate validation checks but it may be useful for you to have a plain English guide as to how the validation rules have been specified at KS1.

The document is available to download below as Adobe Acrobat PDF (accessible) or Microsoft Word (editable).

Published October 2007

Legal Background - Target Setting

Since September 1998 schools have been required to set targets for overall pupil performance.

During 2000 the DfEE and QCA carried out a national consultation on proposals to extend the statutory arrangements to include meaningful target setting for pupils with Special Educational Needs.

From December 2001 all schools which set zero rated targets (level W) within the wider national framework were required to set measurable performance targets for 2003 at Key stages 2, 3 and 4 using P scales or other equivalent performance criteria.

What are P Scales?

P scales comprise of a series of sets of differentiated performance criteria describing attainment below level 1:

  • P1 to P3 show the earliest levels of general attainment with subject focused examples.
  • P4 to P8 show subject related attainment.
How May P Scales Be Used?

P scales are broad-brush tools intended for:

  • summative assessment for school-aged pupils working below level one;
  • the tracking of individual pupils' linear progress towards subject specific attainment at national curriculum level 1 and beyond;
  • identification and recording of pupils' lateral progress by helping staff to look for related skills at similar levels across subjects;
  • looking for patterns in the attainment of pupils;
  • the provision of information for school managers setting targets for whole school improvement.
Wider Uses of The P Scales
  • Reviewing progress with learners
  • Communicating with other professionals
  • Reporting to parents
  • Whole-school improvement
P Scales and Early Learning Goals
  • During the first 2 terms of Y1 as children are making the transition from the Foundation stage into Key Stage 1, teachers' assessments should be based on the NC levels for those children who are achieving at appropriate levels and on the ELGs for those achieving below NC level 1.
  • From the 3rd term of Y1 teachers' assessments should continue to be based on NC levels for those children who are achieving at appropriate levels, and they should be based on the QCA P scales for children achieving below level 1 who are likely to have SEN.
P Scale Progress

P scales are not tied to a child's chronological age.

Expectations of progress will depend on the level the pupil is operating within at a particular age for example expectations for a year 1 pupil operating at p level 8 and a year 11 pupil operating at p level 2 will be very different.

Assessments of pupil progress should:

  • be 'best fit' judgements;
  • take account of pupil's lateral (generalising learning in new contexts) as well as linear progress.

Pupils may not have to demonstrate achievement in every element in a p scale description in order to progress to the next p scale.

What Evidence May Be Used To Judge P-Scale Progress?
  • records of observations;
  • witness statements e.g. other professionals e.g. speech therapists, parents;
  • pupil's written work;
  • photographs, videos, audiotapes;
  • artefacts, artwork created by the pupil;
  • pupil comments;
  • teacher annotations.

Collecting evidence should not be burdensome and not all forms of evidence will be required to make a single judgement.

Commercially Available P Scale Assessment Materials
QCA/DfES Materials

'Using the P Scales' (QCA/05/1589)

'Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage' (QCA/00/587)

'Designing a learner-centred curriculum for 16 to 24-year-olds with learning difficulties' (www.qca.org.uk)

'Foundation stage profile handbook' (QCA/03/1006)

'Key stage 4 for students with learning difficulties' (www.qca.org.uk)

'Towards the national curriculum for English - examples of what pupils with special educational needs should be able to do at each P level' (National Literacy Strategy, DfES, 2002)

'Towards the national curriculum for mathematics - examples of what pupils with special educational needs should be able to do at each P level' (National Numeracy Strategy, DfES, 2001)

P-Level Progression Data
MS Excel Viewer
Click on the image and then follow the instructions on the Microsoft website. Open, view, and print Excel workbooks, even if you don't have Excel installed. This download is a replacement for all previous Excel Viewer versions.

If you do not have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer you can still view the following resources by downloading the Excel viewer via the panel on the right.

For further information about P Scales and their use in schools, or the resources available here, please contact:

John Alder, Improvement Adviser, Curriculum and Transition
Tel: (01482) 392403
Email: john.alder@eastriding.gov.uk

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EAST RIDING of YORKSHIRE COUNCIL, School Improvement Service
County Hall, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire. HU17 9BA.
Tel: +44(0)1482 887700   Click here to Contact Us.
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