About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7403-7411
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain

DEVELOPING A GUIDING PROTOCOL FOR THE MODERATION OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS

W. McGuire, R. Raaper

Glasgow University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Glasgow University’s School of Education adopts a range of approaches to moderating assessments. This qualitative study aimed to explore the extent to which variation is beneficial or whether a consistent approach would be more reliable in terms of the marking process. As such, this project aimed to enhance the assessment of learning by developing a guiding protocol to support staff practice when moderating student summative assessments. The key output is a draft protocol for moderation

Three main approaches to moderation are deployed: (1) a pre-marking principle, (2) a post-marking principle and (3) a hybrid of (1) and (2). Pre-assessment moderation involves the agreement of standards in advance of marking. The post-marking model relies on the moderation of standards after marking, while the hybridised form emphasises the significance of pre-moderation in reducing the amount of post-moderation required. Each model is currently applied to summative assessments, which are exclusively essay or exam – based. These practices have been in place for some time, but we know relatively little about the effectiveness of each of these approaches, or whether one is more reliable than another and the literature provides relatively little insight into this issue.

Much has been written on formative assessment in higher education in the last decade, but the area of assessment moderation remains far less well explored according to Bloxham (2009) who calls it an, ‘under researched area of higher education’ while Baum, Yorke and Coffey (2010) also note that ‘the actual process of assessment has received rather less research attention than assessment itself. And yet few things affect students as much as their summative grades. As such, it is imperative that we ensure both the effectiveness and transparency - a concept referred to by Orr (2007) as being ‘emblematic of positivist assessment research’ - of our assessment moderation protocols in the light of the increasing importance of National Student Surveys (NSS).

Staff were invited to participate in the study by giving their views on the strengths and weaknesses of three models of assessment moderation. Data were gathered using: (1) a questionnaire issued to (50) staff, and (2) semi-structured staff interviews via focus groups (3 groups of 6) the purpose of which is to ascertain views on the effectiveness of the various approaches.

The results of the data analysis have been shared among School of Education staff and students and has led to the development of a guiding protocol. It is hoped that this approach will improve confidence levels among staff. The focus of the interviews was on why particular approaches are adopted and how confident are individual staff in the efficacy of such approaches.

The results suggest that:

Practices are inconsistent
The standardisation of assessment and moderation is problematic
There is a reliance on subjectivity and tacit knowledge
There is a need for compromise: 'social moderation'.
@InProceedings{MCGUIRE2015DEV,
author = {McGuire, W. and Raaper, R.},
title = {DEVELOPING A GUIDING PROTOCOL FOR THE MODERATION OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS},
series = {7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN15 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-8243-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {7403-7411}}
TY - CONF
AU - W. McGuire AU - R. Raaper
TI - DEVELOPING A GUIDING PROTOCOL FOR THE MODERATION OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS
SN - 978-84-606-8243-1/2340-1117
PY - 2015
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2015
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN15 Proceedings
SP - 7403
EP - 7411
ER -
W. McGuire, R. Raaper (2015) DEVELOPING A GUIDING PROTOCOL FOR THE MODERATION OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS, EDULEARN15 Proceedings, pp. 7403-7411.
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