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As we head into the final term of the school year, thoughts in many schools turn to capturing end of year assessment judgements. I wanted to reflect on our learning from Term 2 and share how online writing moderation is simple to use, will save you time and improve writing assessment judgements moving forward.

Over the last 6 months, we have been developing our online tool to support Pobble schools already familiar with uploading writing to a platform and using it for tracking progress. We have also introduced Pobble to a number of Local Authorities who are working with us as part of an exciting Innovate UK project.

Despite the cancellation of statutory moderation, many schools and LAs are still very keen to be involved in the moderation process. We have also seen an increase in interest from schools who have identified that writing has been badly affected over the last 12 months and are wanting to start identifying the next steps to get back on track.

In my role as a Pobble teacher, I have been busy leading online moderation sessions alongside our assessment leader Laura. Many benefits of online moderation are becoming clear:

Save time preparing writing collections

Teachers have been impressed by how easy it is to put collections together, even quicker if work is uploaded by the pupils and added to online evidence banks. In addition to being easy to upload work, the collections also move through the school with the pupil making mid-year moderations and transition much more effective.

Higher level of engagement in discussions

You may have sat in staff meetings where moderation discussions are dominated by one or two people. By adding an online discussion to the moderation tool we have seen a noticeable increase in the number of teachers participating in the debate. New teachers have fed back on how useful it’s been to review others comments and colleagues have also felt more confident to professionally challenge any judgements being made.

Easier to save as evidence of moderation

School leaders have been very focused in our online pilot sessions on evidence. With feedback from the community, the online moderation tool has recently been updated so that it is easy to save collections, mark conclusions on folders and save folders as school benchmarking.

More effective moderation meetings

One of the biggest challenges of face to face moderation sessions is finding the time to set up and then make these meetings happen. This has been made even more difficult by the challenge of COVID. By using folders already created for you and/or quickly creating school writing collections, we’ve heard of many examples of schools running more moderation sessions than originally planned. We know in many regions school to school events only happen annually. Through our work with LAs and MATs we have again seen groups facilitating more regular discussions through the platform. We are also delighted to hear of examples of the tool being used between just a couple of teachers to validate judgements for those borderline children.

As part of our pilot project, it has been great to work with so many brilliant teachers and moderators. Anna is a Year 6 teacher and Local authority moderator in North Yorkshire. Read about she has used Pobble to support her work...

"Over the past few years, Pobble has played a significant role in the planning, teaching and delivering of my lessons. With their exciting, new writing moderation tool that has been launched this academic year, moderating has become a less onerous task and one that is extremely beneficial both in school and across a wider community.

As the Year 6 teacher at Kirkbymoorside Primary School, writing moderation is something that is always at the forefront of my mind. You are always preparing to be externally moderated and preparing portfolios throughout the year. With Pobble’s online writing moderation tool, work can be uploaded onto Pobble as and when it is completed – with not all work having to be published. This provides a fantastic and organised way of having children’s work ready to be moderated.

In my role as Key Stage 2 Co-ordinator, the Pobble moderating tool has proven extremely useful and effective. As a team, we have looked at pieces of writing and have been able to come up with specific areas that need focusing on as a whole key stage. Using Pobble to do this has proven a lot quicker than trawling through exercise books; the pieces of work have already been uploaded onto the system.

I have been lucky enough to see the Pobble moderation tool being adapted to meet the needs of teachers over the past couple of years through both being a Pobble school and a North Yorkshire County Writing Moderator. Having been a moderator for a few years, I can see first-hand how clever and innovative the moderating tool is and how it will decrease workload for teachers. After attending courses based on how to use the moderating tool on Pobble, I cannot see why anyone would want to go back to the old-fashioned method of looking at books! This is the way forward without a doubt!"

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