Effective moderation of assessment is fundamental to the ongoing development of academic standards. Moderation is undertaken to enable a reasonable level of assurance that assessment activities have been designed and implemented appropriately so that students and staff have the satisfaction and confidence that the results provided are valid and reliable.
ADMI is committed to the processes of assessment moderation at the systemic and individual level.
ADMI defines moderation as a QA process directed at ensuring that assessment is accurate, consistent and fair. Moderation is vital for every assessment which involves a degree of subjectivity. Moderation can be effected through several methods and is part of the QA. Moderation encompasses the entire assessment event, including the design and post-event analysis of the validity of the assessment.
The prime objective of moderation is to promote quality and ensure consistency.
Five points are mentioned below to cover the purpose:
- To ensure that the courses and units meet the standards
- Courses and modules are comparable with other higher education providers
- Courses and modules meet the standards of external accreditation and regulatory authorities
- The currency of professional academic standards is maintained
- ADMI’s commitment to quality and standards is communicated externally
Moderation can be viewed collectively as tasks and actions undertaken internally and externally. To implement the tasks and actions, the following principles and responsibilities have been developed to facilitate effective moderation:
- Procedures for assessment are clear, valid and reliable and these procedures are made public to all stakeholders
- Assessment tasks shows the learning outcomes and performance criteria as stated in the module outline
- Students are made aware of assessment requirements in the first week of semester
- All assessment tasks are marked against a grading scale that is consistent with the assessment criteria
- ADMI maintains transparent and fair mechanisms for marking and moderating grades
- Moderation processes are evaluated periodically
Moderation – Systemic level
Moderation processes at this level can be undertaken externally and internally.
External moderation includes:
- Course accreditation through related Awarding Bodies and regulatory authorities and resultant outcomes
- Moderation partnerships with other higher educational institutes
- Benchmarking and standardization processes with industry bodies
- Employer, student, university satisfaction feedback
Examples of Internal moderation are:
- Use of expert advisory teams in course and program development
- Oversight from the academic team of ADMI’s academic quality processes
- To assess internal academic processes with regards to formalisation of committees (e.g. Teaching and Learning Committee)
- The use of checking processes to moderate the grading of assessment tasks
Moderation – Individual Level
Individual teaching staff is required to be actively engaged in ongoing moderation processes, for example:
- Active participation in scholarship
- Well elaborated commitment to academic standards
- Cooperation and constant correspondence with academic peers
Scholarship and Professional Development
To maintain the assessment standards is the key objective of academic work. Further, maintaining the assessment process complements this value. Accordingly, it is expected of academic staff to follow the process to make sure that the setting of assignments and their marking is consistent with the expectations and standards of their discipline.
To assist in maintaining assessment standards, academic staff is poised to undertake external moderation procedures to ensure standards are consistent with those expected across the relevant higher education disciplines.
The expected external moderation procedures are:
- Undertaken in a systematic manner
- Conducted in conjunction with appropriate discipline-specific academic staff
- Recorded and results reported to the Director of Studies, Dean and Teaching and Learning Committee
The following responsibilities underpin moderation processes at ADMI:
Director Studies / Dean Faculty
Director Studies / Dean Faculty are responsible for the overall consistency of assessment throughout the course. Consistency of assessment is reviewed as part of the standard QA monitoring process. Academic Directors report on a range of quality matters to the Teaching and Learning Committee and the Academic Board.
Director Studies / Dean Faculty liaise with academic teaching staff to provide opportunities for staff to discuss aspects of assessment design, timing, consistency and implementation. The Director Studies report to the Teaching and Learning subcommittee on any issues that may arise through the marking and moderation process.
Unit coordinators are responsible for the arrangement of their unit and the rationality of the assessment tasks included within it. If there are more teachers/markers in the unit, Unit Coordinators convene unit meetings to discuss similar curriculum and assessment issues as above, in relation to the unit.
Course Advisory Committees
The course advisory committee for each course is responsible for the review of all unit outlines on a three year period to ensure that assessment tasks, grading and other related assessment information is appropriate.
The assessment subcommittee is responsible for reviewing all unit grades on a semester basis to ensure compliance with the ADMI Assessment Policy.
The Academic Board is responsible for reviewing the distribution of grades on a semester basis to ensure compliance with the ADMI Assessment Policy.
Tasks and Actions
Within the broader responsibilities listed above, the following tasks and actions are considered towards moderation mechanisms.
Unit Outline Development
All unit outlines and assessment tasks are required to be checked by an academician. This includes checking and providing feedback in relation to the:
- Arrangement of assessment tasks with the unit’s learning outcomes and in relation to the level of study
- Clarity of the task description
- Criteria and standards by which the tasks will be marked
- Clarity and usefulness of any associating assessment title
- Ways and means in which students will receive feedback
- Guidelines available for markers
- Workload of the assessment tasks
Moderation – Review of Marking and Grading
An important factor of the moderation is the review of a sample of students’ marked work to determine whether the marking is consistent with the assessment criteria and undertaken at the appropriate standard.
Some examples of marking and grading review strategies are:
- Marking of the papers or a sample of papers without identification, i.e. The marker does not know the identity of the students whilst marking
- Second marking or sampling, by the same assessor or a different assessor, focusing on the boundaries of grading and its classifications (i.e. Pass/fail or distinction/high distinction or poor etc.), there should be no indication of the first assessor’s grades or comments, a reasonable sample would be 5% of the papers or 10 papers.
- Marking by an assessor external to the subject, ideally by someone who has taught the unit before
- Assign the same marker to certain questions in assignments or tests so all those questions are marked by the same assessor across different study groups
- Use computer aided marking (for example, machine readable MCQS sheets, on-line automated marking etc.)
- Use of the same marking criteria rubric by all assessors
- Comparison with model answers for the question type
- Pre-marking assessor comparability meetings to trial mark and set marking standards
The Director Studies is responsible for the development of a moderation plan each semester. The moderation plan will incorporate tasks associated with one or more of the marking and grading review strategies mentioned above, with assigned responsibilities for completion of the tasks and dates and scheduled dates for completion of the tasks. The activities of the moderation plan must occur in the period following the initial marking and recording of results at the end of each semester and before the meeting of the assessment subcommittee to approve the grades.