What is the PIPS P1 assessment?

CEM’s ‘Assessment for Excellence’ (AfE) P1 baseline assessment – PIPS P1 – is designed for schools in Scotland and combines teacher observation with a computer-adaptive assessment to identify a child’s individual developmental levels when they enter P1, and to track their progress through their first year of school, providing valuable information for their transition into P2.

As the assessment is adaptive, the sequence of questions is tailored to each child, moving them on when they get questions wrong, and showing more challenging questions when they answer correctly. This makes the assessment enjoyable, age-appropriate, engaging and time-efficient.

What’s unique about CEM assessments?

CEM’s assessments are all adaptive. This means that questions are tailored to the individual pupil, so the assessment is not too difficult or too easy. Each child is presented with a personalised assessment that is suited to them, and can be carried out in an engaging and time-efficient way.

How does the PIPS P1 assessment work?

The PIPS P1 assessment is designed to give valuable one-to-one time between practitioner and child. The assessment is computer-based and carried out one-to-one with each child, with a teacher or teaching assistant controlling the computer. The computer-based adaptive assessment complements ongoing observational assessment and can help teachers to identify individual needs that may be overlooked by observation alone.

The PIPS P1 assessment covers the following specific areas of learning and development:

  • Literacy – including handwriting; vocabulary acquisition; understanding reading fundamentals; phonological awareness; letter, word and pattern recognition; and comprehension.
  • Numeracy – including ideas about maths; quantity and spatial position; identifying numbers; counting; identifying shapes; problem solving; and simple arithmetic.

The assessment takes just 20 minutes and can be stopped and restarted as required. Information is sent directly to CEM for processing, and so no data entry or marking is required.

PIPS P1 also supports the principle that every child is unique, and includes an optional observation-based assessment of:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development – covering areas such as independence; self-confidence and self-awareness; concentration; managing feelings and behaviour; and making relationships.

What can the PIPS P1 assessment tell me?

The PIPS P1 assessment can inform planning for the first year of school in Scotland, helping to identify right at the start of school life what each child knows and can do. It can help to identify any unusual profiles to inform further investigation or intervention, and each individual child’s score is standardised to show where they appear in a national context.

Importantly, the assessment can also be used to measure progress over that first year of school, and provides a solid platform for documenting key information for parents and colleagues. It can also inform school improvement planning and give a whole school picture of performance related to national averages.

The assessment can also be implemented at Scottish Education Authority (EA) level, enabling EAs to have a broad overview of performance across local schools and to measure improvement over time.

PIPS P1 assessment reporting and feedback includes:

For schools:

  • Nationally standardised scores for each pupil – view each pupil’s performance in the context of Scottish national averages
  • Pupil, class and whole school profiles – gain insightful information at a pupil, class and cohort-level
  • Progress measures – measure progress over the P1 year to inform school improvement plans.

For Education Authorities:

  • Overview of data across local schools, tracking over time and comparison to Scottish averages.

Example feedback for the AfE Primary 1 assessment:

The Individual Pupil Report The Cohort Profiles Value-added scatterplots

The Individual Pupil Report offers standardised scores and a breakdown of scores for each section, enabling accurate comparison of abilities.

The Cohort Profiles enable you to view the range of scores across a class, cohort or group, in comparison to Scottish national averages.

Value-added scatterplots show progress over the year, demonstrating where pupils have made expected, above or below expected progress for their age and ability.

The Individual Pupil Report

The Individual Pupil Report offers standardised scores and a breakdown of scores for each section, enabling accurate comparison of abilities.

The Cohort Profiles

The Cohort Profiles enable you to view the range of scores across a class, cohort or group, in comparison to Scottish national averages.

Value-added scatterplots

Value-added scatterplots show progress over the year, demonstrating where pupils have made expected, above or below expected progress for their age and ability.

How can I purchase the PIPS P1 assessment?

Individual schools in Scotland can sign up via the Costs and Registration Forms Page.

If you are an Education Authority in Scotland and would like to sign up a group of schools, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +44 (0) 191 334 4223 to discuss requirements.

You might also be interested in AfE InCAS P2-P7, CEM’s assessment for measuring progress ages 6 to 11.

Schools

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