Thursday, September 4, 2008

Curriculum Council Moderation

Here are words that inspire fear in the most confident graduate teacher - "Moderation". We had ours and the one thing it showed was the need for experienced teachers to guide the less experienced teacher. Our most experienced teacher took the work of students, repackaged it to make it easy to be viewed and removed much of the stress.

I'm not saying that moderation was not stressful - the idea of redressing issues 3 weeks before the end of a course kept me up at night for a number of days. When it happened though, it was great to have recognised that the grading given was correct and also be given ideas about how to improve the course.

In my non-TEE course I now understand that they like to see context heavily developed into the course - coursework specially developed for the cohort. If this can be demonstrated in assignment pieces this can be a good thing.

Another insight was that moderators look at the intake as well as the results especially in TEE courses - to check if the students selected for courses has been done appropriately. It was interesting to hear of restrictions placed on student subject selection in other schools to (I imagine) protect school TEE rankings and student self esteem. As schools reduce the number of subjects on offer and students have reduced options, I wonder if we will see more issues in this area.

Our moderator liked to see cognitive type assessment. I shall seek out some more of this sort of thing (to be honest I have no idea what they are (isn't an investigation typically cognitive?) - but will ask around).

It shouldn't be underestimated the time it takes to prepare for moderation and the disruption it causes to other classes. I strongly suggest for portfolios of all assessment to be gathered and kept for all students in a class by the teacher. If you don't have these pre-done, prepare a couple of each for moderation or you may have your D turn into a C and have to find another portfolio at the last minute to fill the gap (...I wonder how I know this??).

Keeping portfolios from students is detrimental to test preparation (as you have the portfolios rather than students for study) but is far preferable than trying to gather materials in the lead up to moderation dates (especially as for us they fell just before the start of TEE mock exam preparation). After moderation dates portfolios can also be a great study tool for exams that careless students wouldn't have at the end of the year.

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