Teacher moderation systems

In most current GCE, VCE, GCSE and GNVQ specifications, coursework comprises one or more defined tasks (either set by the awarding body or based on criteria defined by the awarding body) and is marked by centres. Because the assessment is of an end-product, the work of a sample of candidates from each centre can be remarked by a moderator, and adjustments to the centre’s marks of all candidates at that centre can be determined, where necessary, based on a comparison of the centre marks and moderator marks for the candidates in the sample. This is known as moderation by inspection.

Although major changes to coursework are not now expected, the Working Group on 14-19 Reform (2004) had favoured a move away from set-piece coursework tasks to a more open-ended style of teacher assessment, possibly based on the general work of candidates during the course. One of the consequences of such a move would have been to remove the possibility of moderation in the manner described above. Thoughts therefore turned to the use of statistical methods as part of the monitoring process, to check whether centres appear to be marking to the correct standard.

The present study has two parts. The first part investigates the use of one or more externally-assessed components to moderate an internally-assessed coursework component, using statistical methods. The second part uses centres’ estimated grades as a proxy for teacher assessment and investigates the effect on candidates’ overall results of replacing operational marks with these ‘teacher assessments’, either
moderated or unmoderated.

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