Saturday, February 12, 2011

Moderation - advice for new players.

Moderation is the local equivalent of peer assessment at a teacher level. If your class is small (less than 12), it is assumed that it is too difficult to give fair grades thus you need to find other small schools to check your grades against. If you are having trouble locating a group tell your HoD/TiC then contact the curriculum council.

Moderation sounds like a pain (and it is) but there is one major advantage. Generally, not always, when you do this you share assessment. This means that you may only need to write half (or a third/less depending on the number of schools involved in your group) of the assessment for the course. If your group has teachers that are organised it can create some great discussion and access to course materials that are often hard to find (such as investigations). Sometimes teachers are not organised, are difficult by nature or have a different opinion to you as to the content and difficulty level of assessment. When they are a combination of these you end up with conflict. Especially if assessment is given late and other participants do not have time to check the difficulty level and breadth of assessment. This is reasonably rare and you can always decline letting them into your next small group. It's in nobody's interest to have a slacker in your group. If you are the slacker for a good reason (such as sickness at home or an unrealistic load at school) then make sure you nurture a good relationship with the rest of the group. Don't let the resentment fester.

If you are terrible at investigations (I own up to this one, I rarely get the difficulty level right), then ask for a later investigation in the year and start now, using your mentor teacher as a guide for where to go with the project. Hunt around for one that hasn't been done for a few years at your school. There are some fantastic investigations being dreamed up at the moment as teachers are finally finding that they have more time with courses bedding down.

Last but not least are the technical issues. Sort out whether you are running concurrent or sequential. Ensure that you know what the weightings are for each assessment and where the marks are coming from (take home and/or validation). Check if notes or calculators are allowed in each assessment. Send your marks to all members of your group and check where your students lie - this will change your approach during semester. Agree on grade cutoffs for semester 1 well before the end of term 3.

Have Fun.


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