MODERATION POLICY AND PROCEDURE
This document sets out LSME’s formal policy and procedures for the reconciliation and moderation of assessment tasks and grades. It lists what actions need to be taken, by whom and when. All staff involved in these processes should be aware of these details.
If individual course regulations from the awarding organisation recommend a different approach, this should be specifically agreed by the relevant Programme Boards and the Academic Board.
All lecturing staff involved in the assessment process should be aware of the College’s comprehensive guidance on marking and giving feedback, as highlighted in our Feedback Policy. Students should be made aware that all initial grades are provisional and subject to moderation. All grading and written feedback should be given within one to two weeks of receiving the completed work. This is to allow time for students to make use of the given feedback on their progress as early as possible and to hand in their corrected work. Therefore, all paperwork required for internal moderation should be available within three weeks of the assessment deadline and should be forwarded to the relevant verifier as soon as possible thereafter.
Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) / Internal Moderation
For programmes which include a specific summative assessment and graded it is the responsibility of the appointed Internal Quality Assurer (IQA) or Internal Moderator to moderate the assessment process. The overall process is distributed into 5 distinct tasks as follows
(i) Reviewing the assessment task, marking guidelines and grading criteria at the beginning of the term to ensure they are set at the required standard and level for the award, fit for purpose and aligned with the criteria set by the awarding organisation. Other matters to consider include:
- Whether it appropriately assessed the learning objectives of the course;
- Whether the assessment task was of reasonable scope, expecting neither too much nor too little, and well-matched to the credit value of the unit;
- Whether instructions to students were consistent with the task and grading criteria to give students a clear idea of what was expected to get a specific grade;
- Whether marking guidelines were sufficiently clear to guide markers in determining a student’s grade.
The Internal Moderator will sign off the assignment briefs as fit for purpose or request additional amendments before they are signed off. This process takes place before the beginning of the academic year to ensure that assignments issued during the year have all been verified and signed off as fit for purpose.
(ii) Reviewing a sample of assessed work. As a rule, 30% sampling is applied to assignments marked by an experienced assessor and more than three pieces of students’ work have been assessed; and 100% sampling will apply for work assessed by a new assessor and for new courses. For the University of Chichester’s validated BSc Programmes, moderation will apply to 30% or a minimum of 10 assessed assignments. Here the internal moderator will holistically assess the marked work and assign a mark. If any discrepancies between the moderator’s marks and that of the initial assessor, is less than 10%, an average of the two marks will be taken as the final agreed mark. If the discrepancy in marks is more than 10% the assessor and the moderator should meet to reconcile grades. This could be done by remarking the work if necessary. If the party is still not able to agree on the final grade or if grades are difficult to understand, Moderators may wish to discuss matters with the Programme Leader. A third person could be engaged to re-mark, as discussed in iv.
(iii) Reviewing the distribution of grades for the course.
If this deviates significantly from past performance on the course or appears to differ significantly from other grade distributions at the College level, this should be considered in more depth – to confirm that the marks given are indeed in line with the criteria.
(iv) Arranging any re-marking of selected sets of work if problems are identified. This must first be agreed with the Programme leader and original marker. If in disagreement they must reconcile any differences by a discussion between them until there is an agreement. If the original marker and Internal Moderators have been unable to reach a decision after a re-marking decision, the Programme leader can refer the case to a third party for remarking. The grades provided by the third party will be final. Re-marking is done if this does not disadvantage other students. Individual work may be re-marked, provided the moderator has reviewed a wider sample of work that puts it in context, including all work likely to be subject to the same discrepancy. Any re-marking must be equitable, and the work of all students who may have been affected should be reviewed for potential re-marking. The College feels that only in this way can the true benefits of double marking – ensuring that every grade awarded truly represents the quality of the work submitted – be obtained.
(v) Finally, confirming the validity of all grades utilizing the Internal Moderator’s Report. For confirmed grades to be available to all final meetings of the External Examiners and Boards of Examiners, the moderation process must be conducted promptly. The standard deadline is that all courses should be moderated within 2 weeks of the assessment being marked.
The Nomination of Internal Moderator
Internal Moderators must be members of the Board of Examiners. If a potential Internal Moderator is identified who is not currently a member of the relevant Board, then they may be co-opted as a new member.
Internal Moderators should not normally have been involved in any of the assessments, e.g. question-setting or marking, for the module they are moderating. However, it is permissible for them to have had some involvement (especially on specialist areas where it may be very difficult to identify staff who have not already been involved in some way) if a strong argument can be made that they would otherwise be the best Moderator for the programme.
The awarding organisations appoint External Examiners (EE). Their main task is to assess the overall quality of the provision with recommendations for improvement. Visit LSME are normally conducted once per academic year but may vary depending on the programme.
The Quality Nominee for the programme will confirm the date for the visit and other relevant information such as the units currently being delivered and the number of complete assessed assignments available for inspection with the EE.
Prior to the agreed inspection date, a visit plan and inspection document list will be forwarded to the Quality Nominee. This will be forwarded to the Programme Board.
The Programme Leader will ensure that the appropriate preparations for the visit and the necessary arrangements are in place to have all the evidence required for a visit assembled for inspection.
All teaching staff will support the preparation for the EE’s visit by having the required evidence forwarded to the Programme leader by the date and time requested.
The External Examiner’s Visit
On the day of the visit, the Quality Nominee will agree on the arrangements for the conduct of the visit with the EE. The visit will cover the following:
- A check that any development/action points arising from the previous visit have been satisfactorily addressed;
- Review of documentation relating to assessment (Selection and Induction, Qualification of Assessors, Experience and CPD record, College Policies and Procedures, Standardisation Procedures, Assessment Process, Internal Quality Assurance and Assessment Record, Internal Moderator Sampling, Internal review and evaluation of Internal Moderator procedures, Minutes of meetings at which assessors check assessment materials and decisions with each other to ensure parity and standardisation, evidence that there are suitable arrangements in place to ensure standardisation of assessment decisions). These documents are held by the Programme Leader in the Centre File for the specific course.
- The EE may also ask to observe an assessment taking place. If so, this will have been notified in the Visit Plan.
- The EE may also expect to be able to interview assessors, Internal Moderators and may ask to speak with candidates associated with the programme /Units being moderated.
- In interviews with candidates, discussion points may include frequency of assessor contact; induction process and usefulness; support and guidance provided;
- The EE will evaluate the candidate evidence in association with the relevant assessment instruments, checking the appropriateness of the assessment instruments, assessment specifications, evidence of candidate achievement, and judgement of candidate performance, and internal moderation records.
- The EE will also record all evidence of good practice in the College.
- At the end of the visit, the Verifier will provide verbal feedback to the Programme Leader, describing the contents of his/her written report discussing any desirable recommendations and action points.
- Desirable recommendations for development are agreed with the College to enable us to enhance our delivery/assessment process.
- Mandatory action points are also agreed with the College, meaning that there should be evidence that action points which have been previously agreed have been actioned.
- The EE, will also release certification for the group or withhold them if he or she is not satisfied with the outcome of the moderation visit. The release of awards for the University of Chichester (UoC) programmes is subject to a success UoC Exam Board meeting and is not dependent on the EE’s moderation process.
- For our Pearson awarded programmes, In the event where certification is withheld, another visit is arranged within three months to review action points and progress made by the college.
Following an external moderation of assessed work, the EE will send her/his formal written report within one week to the Quality Nominee or the Chair of the Academic Board. On receipt of the EE’s written report, the Quality Nominee will forward a copy to the Programme leader and all staff involved in the delivery of the units. The summary of the EE report will be shared with the learners.
At the Departmental level, there will usually be a post-moderation staff meeting to agree on appropriate strategies required to meet action points. The Programme leaders will agree, who will be responsible for coordinating which activities and by when. The students are informed of the outcome of the verification visit at this stage. The action plan is also emailed to the EE. The Programme Leader will monitor the progress until the entire group is satisfied with their achievement.
In the event of any block on certification having been recommended by the EE, the Quality Nominee and Programme Leader will collaborate to plan and implement the actions required on time to have the block lifted as quickly as possible.
Next Review Date: October 2022