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The term "spinal" is used in at least two ways.

In Pick&Mix, a spinal level is one of the levels 1, 3, and 5. Typically in developing scoring statements, one focusses on the spinal levels first and then derives scoring statements for levels 2 and 4. (By the nature of level 6, this cannot be done by interpolation or even by extrapolation.)

The process is described in a report on criteria creation.

A spinal criterion is a hypothetical construct - it would be a criterion, perhaps derived from the HEFCE Measures of Success, which every system would use.

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