Assessment Moderation and Quality Assurance: How do we avoid creating a monster?

Curriculum for Excellence Building the Curriculum 5 a Framework for Assessment: Quality Assurance and Moderation – which must win the title for one of the longest titles for any educationally related paper – sets out the practiuces and purposes of quality assurance and moderation.

In the Strategic Vision and Key Principles of Curriculum for Excellence it states that:

“The aim will be to achieve consistency in standards and expectations and build trust and confidence in teachers’ judgements. Education authorities and national partners will work together to develop the most efficient and effective approaches possible for quality assurance and moderation.”

Following some discussion with colleagues on Friday I thought it might be worth trying to work out how we might avoid creating a bureaucratic assessment monster which weighs down the real business of learning and teaching.

The remarkable and ironic thing here is that we need to protect ourselves from ourselves.  For it seems to me that we are in real danger of recreating the same reporting industry which characterised 5-14 – just because it’s what we have come to know and expect. Yet if one reads the document there does appear to be enough space for us to create something which does not sink under its own weight.

However, for us to create an efficient and effective system we need to start from a basis where we trust teacher judgements – particularly where they are locally moderated.  Yet the reality is that our automatic default position is to create systems which are designed to catch the tiny minority who might be tempted to distort assessments.

Our next national CfE Implementation event will be focussing on this issue but I hope to explore this further over the next few weeks.