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Moderation case study Upper Hutt Moderation Team

The team at work

This case study follows a team of senior leaders from a cluster of schools in the Upper Hutt area. The Upper Hutt Moderation Team, led by Moira Howard, the principal of Birchville School, has been established under the auspices of the Network Learning Communities (NLC) initiative. This initiative has been established by the Ministry of Education to support the effective implementation of The New Zealand Curriculum by establishing partnerships between school leaders. The primary and intermediate schools in Upper Hutt have a successful history of working together to provide professional development for their teachers, and this latest NLC project, with a focus on establishing sustainable and effective moderation systems, is seen as an opportunity to extend this.

Check out the video clips of Principals and Lead Teachers from the Upper Hutt Moderation Team talking about what they’ve learned through the work of the cluster. Also featured are students from one of the cluster schools.

Read the August update for a summary of meetings held, and links through to associated resources on the UHNLC wiki. Learn about the progress, the successes and the challenges of the project thus far.

The prompt for involvement in the NLC related to the National Standards reporting requirements. As a group, the principals of the schools in the cluster felt that if a national standard was to be truly national rather than local, a significant amount of work within and between schools needed to be undertaken.


Teachers needed to be given the opportunity to work collegially across schools to unpack and really understand current assessment and moderation practices to begin the process of developing OTJs of a student’s performance. This was particularly important for some of our smaller schools for whom the available sample size was a significant issue.


The schools represented in the team are socially and ethnically diverse in terms of student population. They range in decile rating from 4 to 10 and include integrated, intermediate and primary schools. The ethnic mix includes schools with between 10% and 60% Māori, 1% and 20% Pasifika and many other smaller percentages of Asian, Russian, South African and Somali students.

The reasons for individual schools involving themselves in the professional development range from global expectations regarding improving teaching and learning by finding newer fresher ways of doing things through involvement in the PD, to very specific outcomes related directly to National Standards.


Teachers in the schools need to have confidence that their OTJs of a child’s competency are consistent, valid and reliable in comparison to those made in other parts of the country.


The NLC will give schools focused opportunities to examine what they are doing in terms of their assessment practices in relation to others and how they are using their assessment information to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It will focus on the process of moderation, initially through the context of writing.

It is envisaged that the PD will also help to strengthen networks that will facilitate interschool moderation to support ongoing judgments. Having all the primary and intermediate schools in the city in the cluster will have significant flow-on advantages for transition from school to school.

The Management Team has an action plan which clarifies the expected outcomes, the nature of the data to be collected, and a suggested timeline and process. The first meeting in March 2011 helped clarify the plan and the way forward, and baseline data was collected at the workshop session in the following April.

Through this webpage, we follow the progress of this professional learning team, and document their successes and challenges along the way.