Using the P scales to assess pupils’ progress

Best practice for practitioners and school leaders when using the P scales to assess pupils’ progress.

This publication was withdrawn on

This document has been archived as it has been replaced by ‘P scales: attainment targets for pupils with SEN’. A detailed guide for teachers on using the P scales is also available.


Using the P scales to assess pupils’ progress


Performance scales (P scales) are used at the end of key stage 1, key stage 2 and key stage 3 for reporting teacher assessment in English, mathematics and science to the Standards and Testing Agency (STA). Performance scales are also used for reporting teacher assessment to parents in other national curriculum subjects.

Assessing pupils’ progress (APP) puts the learner at the heart of assessment. It equips teachers to track pupils’ progress, diagnose strengths and weaknesses and improve teaching and learning.

By using the P scales you can personalise the assessment process. You can include pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and learning difficulties in this national, structured approach to teacher assessment.

This booklet guides teachers in mainstream and special schools on:

  • using the APP approach when reviewing the attainments of pupils who experience difficulties in learning
  • making secure and reliable judgements in relation to the P scales
  • sharing and reporting judgements that are rigorous, sound and consistent
  • improving the teaching and learning of pupils with SEND or learning difficulties, by using assessment information collected over time

These materials are designed for teachers, including special educational needs coordinators, assessment coordinators and subject leaders. But others, including teaching assistants and school managers, will find the materials useful.

More information about the P scale levels 1 to 8 for each subject across the curriculum.

Published 4 March 2011