1. Introduction

  1. This policy outlines the processes and principles to be carried out by module leaders and other moderators when moderating student work.

2. Purpose of Moderation

  1. The main purpose of moderation and second marking is to ensure that appropriate standards are applied in assessment across the whole cohort of students being assessed. These standards should ensure that grades are awarded fairly and that the quantity and style of feedback is appropriate, fair and consistent. As part of the moderation process, moderators should also pay attention to any aspects of the assignment brief or marking scheme that requires improvement going forward. Particular training needs for markers should also be noted
  2. The QAA Code of Practice contains some general guidance as follows:
    1. Internal moderation is important in assuring that examiners apply assessment criteria consistently, and that there is a shared understanding of the academic standards students are expected to achieve. Evidence of moderation is an important feature of internal procedures. Different methods of internal moderation are more or less appropriate for particular situations. In some circumstances, moderation may be limited to sampling a representative number of scripts from a cohort of students, perhaps with emphasis on borderline cases. In other cases, moderation may involve double, or second, marking.
  3. It also identifies a number of factors to be considered when formulating policy, including:
    1. when double or second marking should be used and what approach should be taken, for example, whether or not the second marker normally has access to the first marker's comments and/or marks and highlighting the importance of demonstrating that double or second marking has taken place
    2. the methods to be used when assessments from larger groups are sampled by internal or external examiners
    3. the processes governing and recording any internal moderation and verification of marks and the procedure to be followed when an internal or external moderator disagrees with the original marks
  4. The guidance below incorporates these general guidelines and gives more specific guidance on particular assessment types

3. Definitions

  1. Anonymous Marking – All scripts submitted have an student ID number for purposes of anonymization.
  2. Double Marking- Assessments are independently marked by another marker without access to the grades or comments of the other marker
  3. Moderation- A process of review to check the consistency of grades awarded for an assessment normally by sampling the assessment. This may involve some second marking and some additional procedures

4. Recommendations on Best Practice

  1. Level 4, 5 and 6 (Non-Honours Assessments)
    1. Every individual summative assignment from the ION Nutritional Therapy Diploma Course must be moderated.
    2. If one marker completes the marking of an assignment batch then another marker who should also be given, access to details of the grade spread of scripts from the marking batch must review a sample of the marked scripts. The sample should include a top, middle and bottom script plus any fails or borderline passes
    3. If more than one marker completes the marking of an assignment batch, then there are 2 required stages in the moderation process
      • Stage 1 should involve an upfront discussion amongst the markers to agree the marking approach. This could take the form of a meeting to review an example answer and marking plan. Alternatively, module leaders might choose to meet with markers (either remotely or in person) once each marker has marked a few scripts. Markers themselves should do their own moderation of their own marking to ensure that they are applying grades and feedback consistently and that those marked earlier in the process are not marked differently to those marked later on.
      • Stage 2 involves the person with overall responsibility for ensuring the consistency of the marking, (usually the module leader) reviewing the grade spread (to identify any anomalies in grades awarded) and then a sample of each markers marking. This should include a top, middle and bottom script (plus any fails and borderline passes from each marker). Each marker should provide details of the overall spread of marking grades and the moderator should pay attention to any inconsistencies in grade spread within each marker’s marking

5. Resolving variation between the marking of the marker and moderator

  1. In the event that there is a minor disagreement (1 or 2 marks on 1 or 2 scripts) between the moderator and the marker, then there should be a discussion between the original marker and the moderator and isolated grades can then be altered with the basis for the alteration being noted.
  2. In cases where there is a consistent disagreement (grades either too high or too low), then a further sample should be selected and reviewed. If this then exposes the same issue then there should be a discussion with the original marker and an agreement on a course of action, which may necessitate all the scripts marked by the marker being adjusted as suggested by the consistent variation (i.e. increased by 1 grade band etc.).
  3. When there is variation between the marker and the moderator that does not follow a consistent pattern then a further sample should be reviewed by another moderator. If this still follows a similar pattern then the entire batch of scripts marked by the marker would need to be reviewed by the marker in light of the feedback from the two moderators

6. Resolving Disagreements

  1. Effort should be made to resolve disagreements arising between grades from initial markers and moderators or between two markers (in assessments such as Vivas). If this is not possible then the respective year leader should seek to establish agreement. Alternatively, if this isn’t possible should make a decision on which grade should be awarded. In such cases, the sample given to the external examiner should include some of these examples and asked for their view on the decision taken. The final decision should be taken by the Progression and Award Board in the light of the advice provided by the External Examiners

7. Recording of the Process

  1. It is important that the process be recorded. The Module Leader (or other Moderator) should complete a Moderation summary report showing details of the scripts moderated and the original marker grades and final grades awarded. Summary commentary about each markers marking should also be recorded on the Moderation Summary Report together with any overall information on the marking / moderation process; any identified areas for improvement and any identified modifications to the assignment brief or marking scheme. If any changes to grades took place then the process by which this was resolved / agreed should also be noted. Comments from the moderator may also be recorded on the student script. Moderation summary reports should be provided, together with assignment briefs and sample scripts to external examiners for review ahead of the July Progression and Examination Board. 

8. Practical Clinical Assessments

  1. Samples of clinical work should be moderated for each practical clinical assignment. In the Training Clinic, each supervisor should have three clinical consultations moderated by the Head of Clinic or Clinical Practice Module Leader during each academic year. Consultations can be moderated in real time or by viewing recorded consultations after the event.
  2. For clinical assessments such as the CP One assessment day then each supervisor should have one consultation moderated (either on the day or by viewing recordings after the event). In addition, any fail consultations should be moderated after the event to ensure that the moderator agrees with the fail decision. If the moderator does not agree then the moderator and marker should have a discussion to aim to reach agreement. If agreement is not reached then the consultation should be moderated by another marker to make the final decision.

9. Vivas

  1. Vivas should be carried out by 2 tutors and assessment decisions must be based on the agreement of the two tutors. In the event that tutors are not able to agree then the recorded viva should be watched by a third marker to agree on the final decision. All fails should be reviewed by another marker and a discussion between the original marking team and the moderator should take place in the event of a disagreement. If agreement is still not be reached then the Course Leader will be called upon to make the final decision

10. Formative Assessment

  1. The process above does not apply to formative assessment, but when formative assessments are marked by more than one marker then it is important that processes be put in place to ensure to ensure students of consistency and accuracy of feedback so that students are:
    1. Confident in the accuracy of the grade awarded
    2. Treated fairly in terms of the quality of the feedback


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