Cross-sectoral moderation as a means of ensuring quality in teacher assessments

Lynne Grant-McMahon

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper is relevant to all countries and illustrates the importance of collaboration between the primary and secondary school sectors when it comes to ensuring not only the quality of teacher assessment, but the standard of application of assessment criterion across the sectors. Joint sector collaboration through the introduction of moderation events is one way to increase teacher confidence in the assessment judgements of the other sector. This research was in response to the education authority concern about increasing staff comments and complaints about the assessment judgement of staff in different sectors. Boyd and Simpson (2000) highlighted the worrying fact that staff in one sector in particular felt that they could not rely on the assessment judgement or assessment information of staff from the other sector. ‘You can’t trust the assessments from the primary school. They’re all over the place.’ (p.20) The aims of this research were to: encourage staff at all levels, from the various sectors to engage in an open discussion about teaching methods and assessment criteria, provide a forum for groups of cross sector staff to work together to mark small samples of work, discussing the marking criterion, establish a model of moderation that could be used across the authority in every subject area, investigate the opinions each sector held about the other throughout the research. Moderation in the context of this paper can be examined through a Bronfenbrenner lens, although Bronfenbrenner examined the idea of child development through his definition of ecological theory, I have related this theory to teacher development. Instead of the child being at the centre of the concentric circles, it is the teacher that is at the centre. Bronfenbrenner’s theory is also of use as a means of examining whether moderation can, not only have an impact on the development of the individual teacher, but also their school and wider setting. Banks and McNeil (2006) stated that the aim of moderation is to ensure “assessment judgement can be trusted” (p.2), this implies that unless moderated, teachers judgements cannot be trusted and misses the key element of discussion and sharing a standard about assessment criteria. This research was conducted over a four year period, in one Scottish education authority and involved not only teaching staff from every primary and secondary school within the authority but also school managers and secondary department heads. Various curricular areas were examined over the research period.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventEuropean Educational Research Association Conference 2009 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 28 Sep 200930 Sep 2009


ConferenceEuropean Educational Research Association Conference 2009


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