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1. Governing policy

The Moderation of Assessment Procedures (“procedures”) relate to the Assessment Policy. The purpose of these procedures is to outline the moderation of assessment processes at the Institution.

There are three key phases in these procedures:
1. pre-assessment phase which focuses on assessment design;
2. point of assessment phase which focuses on making judgements; and
3. post-assessment phase which focuses on grading outputs as outlined in Table 1 Process for Moderating Results.

2. Scope

These procedures apply to all coursework courses (both award and non-award), including ELICOS, foundation, vocational and higher education qualifications. It applies to all students, staff and others associated with, or contracted by, the Institution who are responsible for conducting the assessment.

3. Moderation principles

The moderation of assessment process will:

a. confirm that assessment is being undertaken appropriately, consistently and fairly;

b. ensure that assessment is both valid and reliable;

c. ensure that there are both formative and summative assessments embedded in subjects;

d. identify triggers related to assessment, both individual and systematic, and enable a resolution in a timely manner;

e. enhance the learning and teaching experience for both students and staff;

f. make the best use of existing systems and processes to ensure effective use of staff and student time.

4. Moderation procedures

4.1 Pre-assessment phase which focuses on assessment design

4.1.1. Assessment design begins with the development of a subject as aligned with the course and subject level outcomes. The assessment tasks are approved through the Learning and Teaching Committee as part of the governance process.

4.1.2. The Subject Lead is responsible for the academic leadership and oversight of the subjects allocated to them, which also includes monitoring and reviewing assessment tasks. If review is required (internal or external), the Subject Lead will prepare assessment tasks and assessment criteria to enable a reviewer to assess whether it aligns with the learning outcomes being assessed, which includes a timeline of assessment tasks and due dates.

4.1.3. Academic staff, including sessional staff, who teach the subject, should be part of the pre-assessment discussions, to provide feedback on the assessment tasks as part of a process of consensus moderation.

4.1.4. Each subject will be assigned a reviewer, whose role is to confirm the suitability of the assessment tasks and assessment criteria, working with the Subject Lead to resolve any issues raised during the review process.

5.1 Point of assessment phase which focuses on making judgements

5.1.1 The Subject Lead is responsible for the academic leadership and oversight of all aspects of the subjects allocated to them. This includes the management of marking/grading, including the collation, moderation and submission of results and finalisation of grades.

5.1.2 Moderation of marks/grades may take place using one of two alternative processes, either consensus moderation, involving all assessors in a subject, or expert moderation, where the Subject Lead acts as moderator or marks/grades for all other assessors.

5.1.3 Where moderation of marks/grades occurs through consensus moderation, all assessors including the Subject Lead will be involved in the marking/grading process of a small number of assessment samples (e.g. five).

5.1.4 Consensus moderation should be conducted during the early stages of marking, involving all assessors, with further discussion and agreement on the appropriate mark to be awarded against each of the assessment criteria.

5.1.5 Double marking should be undertaken on subjects deemed ‘high risk’ or when assessment tasks are borderline.

5.1.6 Where moderation of marks/grades occurs through a process of ‘expert moderation’, the Subject Lead acts as the moderator for all other assessors in the subject, taking sole responsibility for confirming that appropriate marks/grades have been awarded.

5.1.7 Under this process, the Subject Lead contacts teaching staff on the subject prior to the start of the term to discuss details of assessment tasks, assessment criteria, marking and moderation procedures.

5.1.8 The Subject Lead provides assessment criteria, marking guidelines/rubrics and instructions to assessors no later than the assessment submission date. Teaching staff should be instructed about the moderation process before they begin marking, in order to facilitate moderation by the Subject Lead.

5.1.9 For examinations the Subject Lead:

a. Receives and moderates copies of at least five exam papers, ranging from fail, pass, credit, distinction and high distinction from each assessor, within five working days of the date of receipt.

b. Provides feedback to assessors within five working days of the date of receipt of exam papers. The Subject Lead will provide feedback and advise the assessor directly of any required adjustments to their exam marking. This may necessitate the assessor adjusting previous exam marks to conform to the moderated sample (no marks should be released to students during this period).

c. Requires acknowledgement of feedback from the assessor and confirmation that feedback is being acted on by the assessor within two working days of moderation feedback being provided.

d. Receives a list of all assignment marks from the assessor on completion of marking and within 10 working days of the assignment due date.

e. Marks/grades must only be released to students once the moderation process is complete.

5.1.10 For assessments other than examination:

a. Select and moderate at least five examples of students’ work, ranging from fail, pass, credit, distinction and high distinction from each assessor, within five working days of the submission date.

b. Moderate grades and provide feedback to assessors within five working days of the submission date. The Subject Lead will provide feedback and advise the assessor directly of any required amendments to their marking. This may necessitate the assessor adjusting previous marks awarded to conform to the moderated sample (no marks must be released to students during this period).

c. Require acknowledgement of feedback from the assessor and confirmation that feedback is being acted on by the assessor within two working days of moderation feedback being provided.

5.1.11 It is the responsibility of all assessors, including the Subject Lead, to ensure that all assessment items returned to students contain only one substantiated moderated mark, and that any adjustments to marks that have occurred as a result of the moderation process have been made prior to the return of work to students.

5.1.12 It is the responsibility of all assessors to meet the timelines for marking and moderation. Any delay in provision of assessment marks may put at risk timely provision of results and feedback to students.

5.1.13 Subject Leads are responsible for maintaining regular contact with assessors throughout the term, during the moderation processes for each marked piece of assessment and as part of the moderation of all assessment results before the Board of Examiners.

5.2 Post-assessment phase which focuses on grading outputs

5.2.1 Subject Leads will attend a moderation meeting with Program Managers where subject assessment breakdowns, results and grade distributions, attrition, retention and completion rates are reported. Subject Leads will identify and discuss triggers for assessment with Program Managers.

5.2.2 Teaching staff are responsible for ensuring all assessment items and examinations are marked fairly and consistently when compared with others in the subject.

5.2.3 Subject Leads ensure all students receive timely and constructive feedback on their assessment, in line with the Assessment Policy (seven working days).

5.2.4 Subject Leads collate a full listing of marks for each student and assessment item when marking and moderation has been completed.

6. Roles and responsibilities

6.1 The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) has executive oversight of the implementation of these procedures.

6.2 The Academic Board is responsible for monitoring academic quality and achievement standards across all the Institution’s courses.

6.3 The Learning and Teaching Committee as a committee of Academic Board is responsible for the management, monitoring and reporting of all assessment across the Institution.

6.4 The Vice President (Quality Assurance and Accreditation) is responsible for monitoring all review of assessment and identifying areas of risk.

6.5 Program Managers are responsible for moderating and monitoring assessment at the course level in collaboration with their course teams.

6.6 Subject Leads are responsible for the design and development of effective assessment at the subject level in collaboration with their subject teams.

7. Related documents

Assessment Policy
External Referencing Procedures

Table 1: Processes for moderating results

Phase Focus Processes that can be utilised
Phase 1: 

Pre-assessment

Assessment design Use of good assessment practice, for example:

  • alignment with learning outcomes
  • range of assessment tasks
  • opportunity for feedback on early assessment task
  • not too many or too few tasks
  • clearly articulated criteria and standards for major assignments
  • peer review of subjects
  • benchmarking between subjects at the same level
  • ensuring progression of complexity in subjects at successive levels
  • benchmarking against other institutions
 

 

 

 

 

Phase 2:

Point of assessment

 

 

 

 

 

Making judgements Subject Leads should ensure that all academic staff involved in marking and conducting assessment (including sessional staff) are prepared. This would include, as a minimum:

  • the provision of interpretive marking guidelines
  • a criteria sheet/rubric
  • representative student work samples where possible.
  • Program Managers could lead group marking exercise to agree on standards, particularly for large numbers of markers, markers from different discipline areas, or inexperienced markers.
  • double marking a random selection of assessment tasks or of borderline highest or lowest grades
  • double marking for high risk subjects such as those delivered in different modes or locations, double marking of assessment tasks (or at least 50% if the cohort is over 20) will be used to ensure consistency
Phase 3:

Post-assessment

Grading outputs Use of triggers* for review of assessment:

  • disproportionate allocation of marks according to historical** data (in a first-year subject this may be a version of a normal or bimodal distribution or may be skewed depending upon entry requirements. In specialist subjects it may be something quite different and could vary considerably between years.)
  • attrition, retention and completion rates.

 


* A trigger for assessment review is not a sign that the assessment is inaccurate. These triggers may also provide helpful information about teaching and assessment of the subject more generally. The assessment review should be applied to the whole student cohort (e.g. through random sampling), not individual students.

** Normal distribution curves or norm-based referencing are not reliable benchmarks for quality assurance purposes. This is because grades have not been based on explicit statements of standards of work and may not reflect the real variability in student cohorts.

Approved by Academic Board on 5 April 2019