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Moderation processes

Successful moderation follows the establishment of reliable systems and processes where the roles of school, teachers, and students are clearly defined.

Getting started

  • The moderation process begins with the planning of teaching, learning and assessment.
  • Moderation involves a group of teachers discussing evidence of studen,t learning.
  • Assessments of the evidence are made using specific shared criteria.
  • The criteria may be exemplified through annotated examples and other national resources (for example, the Running Record DVD/booklet, the Diagnostic Interview and Getting Started Numeracy Development Project Books and New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars).
  • Moderation may involve teachers within a group, within a school or from different schools.

Schools design their moderation processes to suit their situation and needs. They consider factors such as:

  • the purpose, learning area and context of the moderation
  • the size of the school
  • the number of student samples to be included
  • how the moderation will occur over time
  • how the school will document their moderation processes as part of their assessment procedure.
School assessment systems and processes

Schools can use this to check their processes with this representation of the assessment process – from gathering data, through goal setting, making OTJs and moderation, to reporting and new goal setting.

Word icon. School assessment processes (Word 168 KB)

Schools can track their assessment processes and plan improvements with this month-by-month planner.

Word icon. School assessment and reporting cycle (Word 72 KB)

Moderating OTJs

Overall teacher judgments (OTJs) involve many forms of assessment evidence. When teachers draw together evidence to form an overall teacher judgment there is a need to ensure consistency of those judgments between teachers.

To accomplish this, schools need to establish a moderation process within their assessment programme. The process needs to consider how teachers interpret National Standards, as well as how they make their judgments from the assessment information they have gathered.

A suggested process

Here is an example of a simple process that schools could use for in-school moderation.

Word icon. Moderating overall teacher judgements - a process (Word 27 KB)

Video examples

Professional learning facilitators from Team Solutions at Auckland University have put together videos to illustrate the process of making and moderating Overall Teacher judgments.

Visit the website to view the videos.

Moderation will involve professional discussions amongst staff within a school and, where appropriate, across a cluster of schools. Teachers can justify their OTJ in terms of the dependability of the evidence and the process used to determine the OTJ.

Key considerations

When a group is formed for moderating OTJs, they may want to consider the following:

  • Who should take the role of a leader to oversee the moderation process? This person could also be responsible for gathering samples of student work and guiding the group through discussions.
  • It is important to begin the moderation process at the planning stage of teaching with all teachers involved. In smaller schools this may be school-wide and in larger schools it may be within syndicates.
  • Before teaching and learning, it will help if all teachers are given the opportunity to share their understandings, expectations and interpretations of National Standards. This provides opportunities for biases and prejudices to be aired and discussed, and shared expectations to be developed about how to arrive at an OTJ in relation to National Standards.
  • What supporting evidence will be used? What assessment activities are used at different year levels?
  • Is practice consistent for assessment tools such as Running Records and NumPA?
  • Do moderation procedures for marking writing or tests need revision?
  • It is a good idea for teachers to collaboratively make judgments about a sample of student work before assessing their own classes' work. Teachers could gather several sets of evidence on which to base OTJs – focusing on difficult sets such as those they consider near the border between judgments, or with a high level of inconsistency between different sources of evidence.

 After the teaching and learning process, teachers:

  • make OTJs about their own students’ achievement
  • collate samples for the moderation process and provide copies to other teachers
  • meet to discuss their judgments of a sampling of students' achievement based on the evidence they have
  • through discussion and clarification, come to an "agreed" judgment of each student’s achievement in relation to National Standards. This may not always be achieved, but the aim is to reach a greater level of consensus over time.

Useful follow up questions:

  • How high was the level of comparability across teachers?
  • Was the overall teacher judgment of the first, fifth, middle and last student sample (for example) consistent and fair?

Recording and improving consistency

Here is an explanation of the need for recording and improving consistency of agreement in OTJ moderation, and a table that schools can use to record OTJ moderation results.

Word icon. OTJ agreement consistency explanation and table for recording results (Word 54 KB)

Roles

The moderation leader’s role:

Plan the moderation session to ensure that there is time for discussion in small groups as well as across groups.

Determine how the samples of learning will be gathered and how many. This can be achieved in a number of ways: for example, every 5th or 7th piece, or samples teachers consider represent the top, middle and bottom of their class.

Establish what annotation is expected (for example, learning intention, details of the task, support given) and make clear how/when/where the samples are to be collected prior to conducting the session.

Keep a record of the process and retain annotated samples with the judgment reached. These should be kept in a file for future reference.

Student role:

Students can actively participate in selecting evidence (for example, samples of their work) that best demonstrate the intended learning outcomes. Participating in the moderation process benefits students and supports teaching and learning goals. The process develops students’ understanding of the desired outcomes and success criteria, and is closely linked to developing the skills of self assessment.

Teacher role:

Within the classroom setting, teachers should provide opportunities for students to participate in the moderation process.

At the syndicate or school level, all teachers participate in the moderation process.

Willingness to engage in critical debate, and the ability to use evidence to challenge viewpoints, should be encouraged and valued.

The process of moderation can build teachers’ content knowledge through these professional exchanges.

Teachers share their expectations and interpretations in order to clarify their understandings about what students have achieved and where their next learning steps are situated.

School role:

Schools may need to review their assessment cycles to incorporate regular moderation.

Schools need to provide regular opportunities for teachers to share their interpretations and understandings of criteria.

School leaders need to actively support the moderation process.

Schools should ensure their assessment practices and moderation processes are recorded in sufficient detail.

Schools need to develop consistent and cohesive policies and procedures for moderation, and ensure sustainability of practice.