The bane of teacher’s lives in mainstream – moderation. At least though, for courses by exam boards (Entry Level, GCSE, ASDAN…) there’s a markscheme and it’s easy enough to argue over interpretations of said markscheme.
In special education, we are expected to assess and evaluate pupils progress on a weekly basis, recording half termly in a program called ‘b-squared’ – at my place, anyway. However, b-squared has many flaws, among them that it doesn’t cover the whole spectrum of the National Curriculum and that P7 and P8 are often harder to attain than L1. (For the uninitiated, P level descriptors can be found here)
In an attempt to support the assessment from b-squared we moderate classwork for a range of pupils on a regular basis. Every so often, the Science teachers across several LA’s get together and moderate across the schools. How else do you get enough subject specialists and share opinions as you would in a mainstream Science department?
Anyway, things I feel I can take back to school following the recent moderating session:
- without knowing the student and careful annotation a piece of work can be assessed at anywhere between a P7 and L2 – we need more annotation
- TA’s need to be involved in the moderation process, so that they appreciate more the levels that pupils are working at
- photos used for evidence need to be either annotated or accompanied by a witness statement
- perhaps we need to practice anonymous annotation in school – that way we aren’t swayed by ‘knowing the pupil’
It is really difficult to find work that matches the P level descriptors, particularly when so much other work is done in Science. To moderate efficiently, we need to get a feel for how other work fits into the P levels, otherwise we narrow the range of what we are teaching and teach, almost, ‘to the test’. I was able to produce two pieces of work for one pupil that ‘shows’ she is working at L1. She’s not, really, or she most likely wouldn’t be in my class!
An ongoing process, I feel, and one in which we have a lot to learn.