Archive for August, 2007

Part of the National Curriculum Though the use of P Scales is still developing it may be true to say that no other country has such a useful and flexible tool for looking at the progress of children who progress slowly at early levels of learning.

Following the recent consultation, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) is incorporating the P scales into the national curriculum. This is welcome it emphasises the continuity of learning.

Their inclusion in the National Curriculum means that schools must now use P scales to provide data to show the progress of pupils’ aged between 5 and 14 who are working below level 1 of the national curriculum

A framework on which we can observe early levels of learning. P scales were introduced as a framework for observing progress progress of individual pupils who progress very slowly by the 2001 QCA guidance booklets ‘Planning, teaching and assessing the curriculum for pupils with learning difficulties.’

They were written as broad flexible statements so that they could be related to as many aspects as possible of the enormous range of difficulties that affect different pupils, and be capable of being pertinent to the pupils of a very wide age range from 5 to 14 .

This flexibility is an important strength but it has also meant that schools and organisations have developed various approaches to their use . In addition different professionals use them for different purposes and there are various approaches to interpreting observations, using information. Different professionals and stakeholders will have different needs and interest in various uses of P scales

A dialogue for everybody from support assistant to secretary of state . Though their original use was to observe individual progress at an individual or class level. Gradually they have also become used to generate information to illustrate and measure progress of groups. It is clear that this information can help schools ask questions that stimulate school improvement. So it is important that there should be good practice in developing and using P scales both – as an assessment tool for individuals, that illustrates progress and supports planning –and as a basis for developing information about the progress of individuals and groups.

Hence it is important that all users are involved in a professional dialogue so that developments and uses take clear account of – and create clear understanding of, the strengths and limitations that are inherent in the flexibility of the broad P level descriptors, and the inherent importance of using and trusting professional knowledge and judgement that is an important element described in the original QCA advice in 2001 and re emphasised in Using P scales 2005.

Other pages in this blog give reference to useful information including the author’s interpretation of QCA Guidance.


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