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How to make the moderation of writing a positive experience

  • by: Laura Bailey
  • On: 28, Oct 2020
18 min read

We can almost hear a collective groan at the mention of the word moderation. We get it, you have more fun things to do! But it is necessary. In fact, it’s more than necessary: it’s extremely valuable and should be a really positive experience. 

At Pobble, we always try to think of the positives: the brighter side of teaching. It’s so easy to get bogged down with school politics and lose track of the ultimate goal: to motivate and inspire children to learn. So, let’s celebrate the positives of moderation and change our thinking to make the moderation of writing a positive experience.

We took a look at the moderation process and its benefits, so next time you need a boost remind yourself that…

…moderation has a direct positive impact on a child’s learning.

Sharing evidence of learning and working with others to establish clear, consistent and trustworthy evidence supports a collaborative approach to learning and teaching. Your colleague might pick up on some patterns you have missed, or perhaps have experience working with the same pupil or challenge (or both). Ultimately, this ensures that future teaching and learning decisions are relevant, reliable and in the pupils’ best interest. A successful learning journey is, after all, what we’re here for!

…moderation provides an excellent professional development opportunity.

And, that confidence is not without basis. A good discussion about expectations of quality work and the criteria that define it strengthens your team and allows you to learn from each other. Isn’t it great to work together and at the same time develop a range of key skills that you need in your everyday teaching, informing everything from your assessment decisions to self-review? As they say, our own learning is never quite finished.

If you feel you would benefit from learning more about effective writing moderation and how to be more confident in your assessment judgements, check out our range of training options.

…moderation empowers teachers and promotes greater confidence in judgements.

We really need reliable and trustworthy evidence on student learning. This is hard to get by in isolation, though, especially in the context of changes to primary assessment. Moderation aligns teachers’ viewpoints and hence increases the accuracy of assessment decisions that teachers make. After moderation, you’re in a much better position to feedback to parents and families on pupils’ progress. How good does it feel, to know your judgements are accurate and reliable and can then be used to make valuable teaching and learning decisions? 

…moderation results in a better, fairer assessment of writing.

Assessment of writing is intrinsically hard because it’s ambiguous. It’s not sufficient to resort to a checklist of criteria and ensure the boxes are ticked. Not everything is black and white, right or wrong. Moderation provides a platform to qualify judgements, discuss doubts and, generally, improve one’s understanding of where a pupil is at. Together we’re stronger.

At Pobble, we know online moderation is the way forward and we've made it possible! No more hauling books across town to moderation workshops, all teachers discussing a wide range of writing with an expert for the whole session, and teachers from different parts of the world coming together. You can learn more about Pobble's moderation tools by visiting our website.

Discover online moderation


About the author: Laura Bailey is Pobble’s Head of moderation and assessment. Laura brings extensive expertise as a former school leader and experienced moderation manager. Collaborating globally with schools, MATs, Local Authorities, and government education departments, Laura enhances assessment and moderation processes to help you reach accurate judgments.

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