Partial resistance to powdery mildew in spring barley was evaluated in three plot types: large isolation plots, in 1.4 m2 plots in chessboard design with guard plots of spring wheat and in single rows. Percentage leaf area covered by powdery mildew was scored four to six times during the season and partial resistance was characterized by the area under the disease progress curve. Varietal differences were revealed in al three plot designs, differences between the most resistant and susceptible genotypes being of a factor five. Differences between varieties decreased with decreasing plot size. The relationship between single scores of amount of powdery mildew on the upper four leaves and the area under the disease progress curve was high in all plot designs during the first two to three weeks after heading, allowing selection for the trait by one or two scorings. Differential ranking of varieties between different plot designs was observed, and is assumed to be due to increasing plot interference with reduced plot size and reduced distance between plots. A reliable selection for partial resistance could be made in large isolation plots and in 1.4 m2 plots, but hardly in single rows.