Moderation is the means by which a school can ensure that teachers across classes make consistent and defensible judgements about learner achievement. Moderation begins with teachers sharing their understanding of the curriculum achievement standards and their expectations about the types and quality of learners' work that will provide evidence of learner achievement against the standards.
When teachers collaborate on assessment as well as planning the learning program they develop assessment tasks that provide more reliable evidence for making decisions about where a child is in their learning and what the next steps in the learning program should be.
Teachers engaged in moderation share and deepen their understanding of the curriculum standards, the learning intentions and the success criteria by which learner achievement will be measured. By sharing and discussing samples of learners' work they clarify expectations and develop a common understanding about the elements that define the work as being at a particular achievement standard.
When consistent, reliable assessments are made at different points in time and over time, judgements about any one learner's progress and the learning progress of the whole cohort are more accurate.
Reliable assessment data can be discussed confidently with learners and their parents.Adjustments to the learning program can be made more confidently as they are based on reliable assessment data.
A process for moderating assessments of learners' work that is agreed by all teachers of those learners will be most effective and produce the most consistent assessments. Teachers may meet to moderate:
At the basic level, moderation is undertaken by all the teachers of a particular year level or subject in a year level.
Given that in any one grade or group, children may be spread across 5-6 levels along the learning continuum, it can be useful to invite teachers of another year level to participate in moderation. This can help develop a shared understanding of the qualities of student work expected at different levels on the learning continuum.
Moderation amongst teachers in neighboring schools develops a shared understanding about student learning in a district. It also broadens the range of experience at the discussion table.
A useful resource to help put moderation into practice is
Teacher moderation: collaborative assessment of student work. This handbook provides a step-by-guide and case studies illustrating how moderation works in practice.
Sound advice about managing moderation can be found on the
New Zealand TKI site.