Wandsworth LA. Using the P Scales Training pack for use by school staff

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1 Wandsworth LA Using the P Scales Training pack for use by school staff June 2007

2 Using the P Scales Notes on accompanying DVD Page 3 What are the P scales? Page 4 Introduction to the P-scales Using the P scales Page 6 Aspects of Progress Collecting Evidence Page 9 Making best fit judgements Page 11 Moderation Page 12 Reporting to parents Page 13 Reporting to the LA Page 14 2

3 There is a DVD to accompany this guidance: 1. Introduction from John Brown What are the P scales? Kevin, a pupil at a special school is attending a link session at a local mainstream school. The video was taken on the third week of this link arrangement and shows staff from both schools discussing the P scales. Kevin s teacher wants to assess his progress in communication by observing him interacting and communicating with peers of his own age. 2. Working with evidence shows staff discussing a range of evidence, includes video evidence, written work, art work, photographs and observations 3. Working together for moderation class teacher meeting with teaching assistants. 4. In the Classroom a selection of pupil profiles: Gary age 6 P7, Using & Applying Mathematics/Number Sophie age 8 P6, Shape, Space & Measure Lewis age 7 P8, Reading Gemma age 8 P5, Writing Kayleigh age 14 P5, Speaking: Expressive Communication Bradley age 9 P7, Speaking: Expressive Communication Jordan age 9 P7, Listening: Receptive Communication Libby age 5 P5, Science Ryan age 11 P5, Science 5. The P scales in PDF format 6. Examples of pupils performance in PDF format 3

4 What are the P scales? Introduction to the P-scales P scales provide assessment criteria for learners working below level 1 and whose attainment may not register on the national curriculum level descriptions in the national curriculum programmes of study. There are P scales for each of the subjects of the national curriculum and religious education. P scales use eight performance levels to illustrate the learning that leads to national curriculum level 1. Levels P1 P3 show the earliest levels of general attainment with subject focused examples Levels P4 P8 show subject related attainment In the DfES strategy for special educational needs Removing Barriers to Achievement (DfES, 2004) the government explained that it wanted to help schools to develop better ways to gather data on the progress made by learners with special educational needs. This then led to the promotion and extension of the use of P scales to measure progress made by learners working below level 1 and the voluntary collection of P scales data from This guidance is based on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) materials 2005 and is informed by the following principles: The assessment criteria are designed for learners aged 5 16 and provide a framework for assessment; they should not be used to define curriculum content. Colleagues can use their professional judgement and arrive at best fit assessments of learner attainment that take account of context and are developed through observations over time. It is not necessary to devise tests or artificial assessment tasks. The descriptions of levels within the P scales are deliberately broad and are designed to offer flexibility in order to reflect individual patterns of development shown by learners with learning difficulties. P scales can be used to track progress towards level 1 in the national curriculum; however, for many learners progress within or across levels is as important as progress through the framework P scales are just one tool to be used as part of curriculum planning, teaching and learning, assessment and reporting. There will still need to be others systems in place for identifying learners additional needs. 4

5 Data derived from P scales can be used as a way of setting targets for whole school improvement. In common with all nationally recognised assessments, the QCA have reviewed the P scales over time. Most significantly, the strands for speaking and listening in English have been separated and are now called: Listening/receptive communication Speaking/expressive communication The current versions of P scales for English, mathematics, science and information and communication technology are attached and are on the Inclusion pages of the QCA website. P scales for all other national curriculum subjects, including personal, social and health education and citizenship and religious education can be found in Planning, teaching and assessing the curriculum for pupils with learning difficulties guidance booklets. (QCA/DfES, 2001) 5

6 Using the P scales The QCA guidance Guidance for using P scales makes it clear that P scales can be used by colleagues in the same way as national curriculum level descriptions in mainstream and special schools. The P scales describe some of the important skills, knowledge and understanding that learners may gain as a result of being taught using the programmes of study of the national curriculum. Although P scales are designed to be used with pupils during their school years, the levels in P scales operate independently of chronological age. A five-year-old child may attain level P8; some 16 year olds may be working within levels P1 P3 It is recommended that P scales be used to make judgements about and to record and report on learners attainment at the end of each key stage in mainstream and special schools. Teachers may use the P scales to refine and develop notes about assessment opportunities. These will be written into long, medium and short term planning. It may be that the performance descriptions as provided in the P scales are too broad to be used in curriculum planning, and more finely tuned assessment opportunities need to be developed. However using the P scales framework, teachers will be able: Record significant and new learner responses and small increments of progress. Plan future work more aligned with learners levels of attainment. Gather records about learners progress over time, linked to levels, in preparation for making summative comments in reports at the end of a year or key stage. School managers may also wish to use P scales to set targets as one of several useful mechanisms for setting targets for whole school improvement. 6

7 Aspects of progress Expectations of progress will vary depending on a learner s age and individual needs. It will be: Appropriate to use the P scales framework to chart the progress of individual learners and to look for patterns in the attainment of learners across a cohort. Appropriate to use other ways of measuring progress that learners make within and across the whole curriculum, as well as using the P scales framework. Inappropriate to expect the P scales framework to predict how far or how fast individual learners or groups of learners should progress. Inappropriate to hold staff to account for the fact that learners with learning difficulties do not make progress in accordance with any spurious norms or expectations of progress. Lateral progress The Guidance for Using P Scales (QCA, 2005) refers to linear, lateral progress and individual profiles of learning. It sets out to support schools thinking about progress in a range of ways, for example in addition to developing new skills, knowledge, concepts or understandings, learners may be recognised as making progress, when they: Demonstrate the same achievement on more than one occasion, so that learning is maintained. Consolidate, strengthen or refine their achievements, so that they can make use of their skills with greater fluency or work with less support. Combine existing skills, knowledge or understanding in new ways. Gain confidence in their achievements, so that they can use their learning in new situations and under different or changing circumstances. Apply their skills, knowledge and understanding to new tasks in new contexts, perhaps in real life settings or in relation to adult challenges The relationships between linear and lateral progress are not simple. Learners who appear to be making the most straightforward linear progress will be likely to require some opportunities to consolidate their 7

8 learning in different contexts. Learners with severe or profound learning difficulties, who appear to have reached a plateau in their learning, may be engaging in exploring wider contexts and then over time make some forward progress in their learning. The learning profiles of most learners show a combination of linear and lateral progress, although the balance between these dimensions may be markedly different for individual learners. 8

9 Collecting Evidence Assessments and judgements about attainment should always be supported by evidence. That evidence can take different forms, for example: Teachers and teaching assistants records based on observations. Contributions from the whole staff team are valuable as throughout the year teachers and teaching assistants are informally collecting evidence and making note of particular observations. Learners written work. Art work and artefacts created by learners. Photographs, video and audio tapes Witness statements from parents or other professionals A word of caution here; there is no need to collect vast amounts of evidence of visual proof to substantiate every teacher judgement. Notes based on observation and professional knowledge are often the most vital pieces of evidence. Inadequately explained samples of work or photographs make poor pieces of evidence. A number of schools have well designed annotation sheets and this is recommended. The quality of the evidence is crucial. Teachers and teaching assistants should focus on collecting good evidence and making good annotations. All well designed annotation sheets provide valuable prompts for concise yet rigorous comments. Less effective approaches to annotation often involve cursory comments or meaningless ticks. Dates on work and the annotation sheet are essential to reveal trends and rates of progress. Observations: Observations play a key part in the process of collecting evidence. Different forms of observation may include: Informal observations of learners made during whole class activities. Observations of a learner working within a structured group. Observations of a learner made during individual work. Observations of responses to specific demands. 9

10 It is good practice to assign specific time to make observations. The observer will know the learners working levels and target(s) that the learner is working towards. Learners responses may indicate new learning, development of previous learning, consolidation of emerging skills, knowledge or understanding or repetition of previous learning. In recording it may be helpful to use a framework to record, for example Emergent developing secure With support independently Never occasionally frequently consistently Video and Photographs: Video and photographic evidence is helpful, provided it is well annotated. Often the annotations, rather than the images themselves, provide the actual evidence upon which any judgements are based. Video clips and photographs can serve as prompts through which teachers and teaching assistants remember their observations, as prompts to review work with learners, as part of reporting progress to parents and as a way of illustrating different forms of progress. However, there is no need to spend significant amounts of time editing and collating video and audio audience, as it is the annotated, written notes, which explain the evidence and therefore the assessment.

11 Making best fit judgements The performance descriptions provided in the P scales can be used just like the level descriptions of the national curriculum to help teachers and teaching assistants make judgements about learners attainments, over time and in a range of different settings. In order to allocate a level, teachers will need to describe which performance description is the best fit for the evidence gathered. Best fit judgements should be made on the basis of normal everyday teaching and learning processes and will usually involve teachers and teaching assistants working together to review their varying perspectives. Practices will vary from school to school. In secondary schools, for example, there may be a SEN link person within each department. In special schools, staff teams managed by the class or subject teacher will meet regularly to make best fit judgements and in primary schools class teachers will involve their teaching assistants, who may be recording learners progress against learning objectives. In order to decide a best fit judgement Make decisions based on quality observations Take account of the levels of support, modelling or prompts learners receive, context on the annotated sheets Consider learners ages and prior attainments and the effects of the barriers to learning experienced Consider learners work against elements of the levels above and below the proposed level A learner may not necessarily demonstrate every element in a description in order to be credited with a given level those aspects not met will form the basis of targets within the P levels. For some learners, small increments of progress within a level represent important achievements. These will be reported positively. Consider those learners who experience regressive conditions. Teachers and teaching assistants will be aiming to maintain prior knowledge, understanding and skills through the introduction of fresh experiences.

12 Moderation Moderation processes help teachers, teaching assistants, school managers and local authorities to develop common understandings about performance and to become more consistent in understanding and interpreting the levels. Teachers will want to set up moderation exercises within their own schools, for example during staff meeting time. The purpose of such exercises will be to: Develop further understanding of the P scale descriptions. Share and disseminate good practice. Confirm best-fit judgements. Focus on learners progress. Develop the need for careful annotations so that other staff can appreciate the contextual influences on performance and the judgement made. Enable schools to create a moderation portfolio. The portfolio can provide age-related examples of work at given levels, for example P4 in KS4, as opposed to P4 in KS1. Such a portfolio can help move the school towards agreed interpretations of levels, become a source of reference, and support teachers assessment procedures and judgements. Moderation of P scale data at the end of the key stage assessments will take place alongside the normal arrangements already in place for moderation of teacher assessments. Teachers will be asked to bring samples of work to moderate with colleagues from other schools.

13 Reporting to parents P scales are intended to support summative assessment. The performance descriptions in the P scales can be used to summarise the range of subject focused learning a learner may demonstrate over a key stage. Schools will map learners performance on the P scales at the end of a key stage In reporting to parents, schools will need to decide how best to proceed. However, the numbers assigned to the levels, for example P5, P6 and so on, provide a form of professional shorthand, which enable teachers to refer to a complex framework of skills, knowledge and understanding. If schools decide to report the levels, they need also to provide meaningful descriptions as to what the numbers mean. This is particularly important where learners make very small steps and cannot be credited with a new level. Reporting should reveal how learners have widened the application of their skills and knowledge, or where learners have regressive conditions, how they are sustaining their skills and maintaining their quality of life and relationships. Above all P scales offer a measure of progress relating to the national curriculum levels of study, but should be presented to parents as one part of a rich learning context that meets learners wider needs.

14 Reporting to the Local Authority National collection of P scales at the end of the key stages will be mandatory in In Wandsworth, collection of P scale data will take place at the end of the key stages for all learners working towards level 1 of the National Curriculum. All schools will have a benchmark against which to measure progress following mandatory collection in The P scales can be converted into point scores. Data will be included in the Local Authority contextual school reports and for schools who submit data will be analysed by the University of Durham. It is also anticipated that data will link to value added analysis by the Fischer Family Trust. In subsequent years, P scale data will be collected as part of the normal assessment arrangements annually in May.

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