The issue of using teacher judgement to make assessments of student achievement concerns educators worldwide (Bolt, 2011). While marking is usually a solitary exercise, to ameliorate the concerns associated with variations in judgement, teachers moderate. The process of moderation means that marks I award, rely not only on my judgement, but the professional judgement of others to reach a consensus (Crisp, 2017).
As mentioned in my previous post Brickbats and Bouquets, even though I considered the student to have done poorly in the assessment, I felt I was lacking the confidence to fail the student at this stage of my development as a teacher. While that might be the case in this instance, alternatively there will times when moderation conversations will require me to have enough confidence in my judgement to advocate for a student at the top end of the scale. I took solace reading the line in the above image as it reminded me I will not be alone; while moderation means consistency for the student, for me it means that I will be supported by colleagues in my development.
Why moderate?…the process will support our development towards feeling confident making judgements (Williams, 2014).
My initial assessment of the student’s achievement largely mirrored those of my fellow markers and moderators. However, I felt I my comments were a little harder than most. While its not appropriate to make comparisons of work and marking should be to the matrix (Russell, 2018), I would have liked to have seen work from the same class at the top, middle and bottom of the scale to determine if I was marking appropriately. I felt it was hard to moderate with only one piece of work as an example and no standard procedure. Comments I made and received on others work can be found here: Moderation Comments Given and Received.
Some discrepancies between markers centred around the table the student used to evaluate the proposal. While the concept was good, I felt the content was lacking and there was no research to substantiate claims. The table contained a lot of general, sweeping statements and the work would have benefited from some extrapolation around the points made in the table. Others marked this higher due to the fact that the table was an effective means to compare and contrast the two proposals.
While there will always be differences in the way we mark because we are all individual, I think our general lack of experience was also a contributing factor to many of the discrepancies in this particular exercise. The situation was further complicated by the fact that some of my fellow markers provided comments and an overall grade, while others simply indicated which section of the matrix they had selected without indicating what overall grade the student achieved or including comments, which would have provided valuable insight into their decision making process.
With the benefit of hindsight, I feel I should have made fewer comments on the assessment for the benefit of both myself, and the student. If you wish to know what I’m referring to, EDS4408 Marking Exercise. To mark every assignment in a class of 30 with as many comments, would be incredibly onerous and a mostly unrealistic goal. Its highly likely I have overwhelmed the student and instead should have selected a few key issues that were actionable. In a school situation, this assessment would be part of a bigger picture that would allow me to highlight areas for improvement within their zone of proximal development as the semester progressed. After all, each of us is developing and I’m incredibly relieved that I will have colleagues to assist with me with mine!
Bolt, S. (2011). Making Consistent Judgements: Assessing Student Attainment of Systemic Achievement Targets. The Educational Forum, 75(2), 157-172.
Crisp, V. (2017). The Judgement Processes Involved in the Moderation of Teacher-Assessed Projects. Oxford Review of Education, 43(1), 19-37.
Russell, D. (2018). EDS4408 Week 10: Topic 10 Zoom, Feedback and Reporting [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://usqstudydesk.usq.edu.au/m2/mod/resource/view.php?id=1038083
Williams, M. (2014). Five for Friday. Retrieved from http://growinglittlelearners.blogspot.com/2014/10/five-for-friday.html