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Process - Planning for moderation

Effective moderation builds on meticulous planning of process and content.

Decisions that need to be made, dependent on each school's situation and needs:

Purpose, learning area and context of the moderation:


  • It could be moderation of a writing assessment, or a reading or maths task, or the understanding of how to take a running record, or of judgments of student achievement and progress for reporting to parents and whānau. The leadership should make these decisions as part of their assessment plan.

Personnel involved:

  • Who needs to be involved? Who will be the leader or co-ordinator?
  • It is preferable that the leader/co-ordinator has the authority to make decisions?

The timing, duration and frequency of moderation meetings:

  • Will they be extra meetings, or part of staff or team meetings, or non-contact days?

The evidence of student learning that will be moderated:

  • For a piece of writing, student writing samples will be used.
  • For moderating a reading or maths task: the task, text and questions the student responded to may be used, along with notes of student questions.
  • For administration of an assessment tool: this could be a student’s running record and the associated teacher analysis, or a video tape of a teacher administering a running record.
  • For judgments of student achievement and progress for reporting to parents and whānau, a range will be required, covering both formal and informal collection of evidence. 
  • For those schools who use the PaCT tool, the moderation session will involve samples of student work to be compared against the exemplars in the tool.

The number and selection of student samples to be included:

  • This is very much dependent on what is being moderated. It could be samples of work assessed to be in the high range, mid range and low range in relation to the success criteria, or those of every 5th student on the class roll, or samples of work that teachers are unsure how to assess.

How much marking/judgment/assessment should be done before moderation:

  • For example, perhaps 10%, so that moderation decisions are made prior to completing the marking/judgment making/assessment.

Skills or knowledge needed:

  • aspects of curriculum 
  • assessment tool administration
  • progressions of learning.

Reference materials that will be needed (these will vary depending on what is being moderated):

  • marking matrices
  • progressions of learning
  • annotated exemplars, including from PaCT and NCEA.

Considerations for future moderation:

  • How new teachers will be inducted into moderation processes.
  • How the school will document and evaluate its moderation processes.

Role of the leader or co-ordinator

There are a number of administrative jobs that will require organising before the moderation meeting. These include:

  • gathering and preparing samples for moderation
    • making samples anonymous 
    • photocopying multiple copies of student work for each teacher to work with
  • preparing annotation and marking sheets
  • ensuring availability of reference materials
    • For example, curriculum documents, progressions of learning, annotated exemplars
  • communicating expectations to teachers
    • identifying prior knowledge or reading required
    • confirming time and venue
  • setting the agenda 
  • establishing ground rules for discussion 
  • managing the meeting (particularly timing)
  • appointing a note/minute taker.

Although this sounds very formal, it is worthwhile to go through these steps to ensure that the moderation time spent is purposeful and achieves its aims.