DEVELOPING P SCALES IN RE
In 2001, QCA published Planning, Teaching and Assessing the Curriculum for Pupils with Learning Difficulties: Religious Education.
The ‘P’ (Performance) scales can be used by teachers in order to:
- decide which description best fits a pupil’s performance over a period of time and in different contexts;
- develop or support more focused day-to-day approaches to ongoing teacher assessment by using the descriptions to refine and develop long, medium and short-term planning;
- track linear progress towards the Key Stage 1 Learning Outcomes in the Agreed Syllabus;
- identify lateral progress by looking for related skills at similar levels across their subjects;
- record pupils’ overall development and achievement, for example, at the end of a year or a key stage.
They may well be useful in mainstream as well as special schools.
P Scales in RE Learning
The first three P scales outline the types and range of general performance that some pupils with learning difficulties might characteristically demonstrate.
P 1 i Pupils encounter activities and experiences. They may be passive or resistant. They may show simple reflex responses, for example starting at sudden noises or movements. Any participation is fully prompted.
ii Pupils show emerging awareness of activities and experiences. They may have periods when they appear alert and ready to focus their attention on certain people, events, objects or parts of objects, for example becoming still in response to silence. They may give intermittent reactions, for example, vocalising occasionally during group activities such as a visit to a place of worship and acts of worship.
P 2 i Pupils begin to respond consistently to familiar people, events and objects. They react to new activities and experiences, for example, briefly looking around in unfamiliar natural and man-made environments. They begin to show interest in people, events and objects, for example leaning towards the source of light, sound or scent. They accept and engage in coactive exploration, for example, touching a range of religious artefacts and found objects in partnership with a member of staff.
ii Pupils begin to be proactive in their interactions. They communicate consistent preferences and affective responses, for example, showing that they have enjoyed any experience or interaction. They recognise familiar people, events and objects, for example, becoming quiet and attentive during a certain piece of music. They perform actions, often by trial and improvement, and they remember learned responses over short periods of time, for example, repeating a simple action with an artefact. They co-operate with shared exploration and supported participation, for example, performing gestures during ritual exchanges with another person performing gestures.
P 3 i Pupils begin to communicate intentionally. They seek attention through eye contact, gesture or action. They request events or activities, for example, prompting a visitor to prolong an interaction. They participate in shared activities with less support. They sustain concentration for short periods. They explore materials in increasingly complex ways, for example, stroking or shaking artefacts or found objects. They observe the results of their own actions with interest, for example, when vocalising in a quiet place. They remember learned responses over more extended periods, for example, following a familiar ritual and responding appropriately.
ii Pupils use emerging conventional communication. They greet known people and may initiate interactions and activities, for example, prompting an adult to sing or play a favourite song. They can remember learned responses over increasing periods of time and may anticipate known events, for example, following a familiar ritual and responding appropriately. They may respond to options and choices with actions or gestures, for example, choosing to participate in activities. They actively explore objects and events for more extended periods, for example, contemplating the flickering of a candle flame. They apply potential solutions systematically to problems, for example, passing an artefact to a peer in order to prompt participation in a group activity.
P Scales 4-8 in RE
From P Scales 4 to 8, it is possible to describe pupils’ performance in a way that indicates the emergence of knowledge, skills and understanding in RE. The descriptions provide an example of how this can be done.
P 4 Pupils use single elements of communication, for example, words, gestures, signs or symbols, to express their feelings. They show they understand ‘yes’ and ‘no’. They begin to respond to the feelings of others, for example, matching their emotions and laughing when another pupil is laughing. They join in with activities by initiating ritual actions or sounds. They may demonstrate an appreciation of stillness and quietness.
P 5 Pupils respond appropriately to simple questions about familiar religious events or experiences and communicate simple meanings. They respond to a variety of new religious experiences, for example, involving music, drama, colour, lights, food or tactile objects. They take part in activities involving two or three other learners. They may also engage in moments of individual reflection.
P 6 Pupils express and communicate their feelings in different ways. They respond to others in group situations and co-operate when working in small groups. Pupils listen to, and begin to respond to, familiar religious stories, poems and music, and make their own contribution to activities that explore celebrations and festivals. They carry out ritualised actions in familiar circumstances. They show concern and sympathy for others in distress, for example, through gestures, facial expressions or by offering comfort. They start to be aware of their own influence on events and other people.
P 7 Pupils listen to and follow religious stories. They communicate their ideas about religion, life events and experiences in simple phrases. They evaluate their own work and behaviour in simple ways, beginning to identify some actions as right or wrong on the basis of the consequences. They find out about aspects of religion through stories, music or drama, answer questions and communicate their responses. They may communicate their feelings about what is special to them, for example, using role play. They begin to understand that other people have needs and to respect these. They make purposeful relationships with others in group activity.
P 8 Pupils listen attentively to religious stories or to people talking about religion. They begin to understand that religious and other stories carry moral and religious meaning. They are increasingly able to communicate ideas, feelings or responses to experiences or to retell religious stories. They communicate simple facts about religion and important people in religions. They begin to realise the significance of religious artefacts, symbols and places. They reflect on what makes them happy, sad, excited or lonely. They demonstrate a basic understanding of what is right and wrong in familiar situations. They are often sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and show respect for themselves and others. They treat living things and their environment with care and concern.