We know that teaching and assessing writing has always been a challenge for many teachers. After a difficult few years, and seeing a large drop in national writing results, we're hearing from lots of you looking to make changes to your approach and address writing outcomes in your school.
Over the last two years, as well as continuing to improve our teaching and learning resources to inspire children to write, we've been busy developing our online writing moderation tools to support schools struggling with the assessment of writing.
In my role as a Pobble teacher and alongside Laura, our assessment leader and LA moderation manager, I've been leading online moderation sessions. I've also been working closely with a number of Local Authorities, school groups and MATs. Many benefits of online moderation are becoming clear.
Here's why you should consider improving your school approach to moderation and take your writing assessment online:
Save time preparing writing collections
Teachers have been impressed by how easy it is to put collections together online, 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.
A higher level of engagement in assessment 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 felt more confident to professionally challenge any judgements being made. This has meant that even as we have transitioned back to more face-to-face meetings schools have still adopted Pobble's online approach to support their writing moderation sessions.
Easier to save as evidence of moderation
With our online moderation tool, it's easier to save collections, mark conclusions on discussions and save files as school writing exemplars which can be accessed at any time. This has proved invaluable for school leaders, who are able to access moderation files at any time, even if they were not part of the original meeting. It's also meant that staff can access previous moderation files to support their termly assessments.
More opportunities for moderation meetings
One of the biggest challenges of face-to-face moderation sessions is finding the time to set up and then make moderation meetings happen. By using folders already created for you and/or quickly creating school writing collections, we’ve heard of many 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 for teachers in all year groups. We are also delighted to hear of examples of the tool being used by just a couple of teachers to validate judgements for those borderline children.
Teaching teams must ensure they're making accurate assessment judgements, but we know it isn't easy to gain a clear understanding of pupils' standards and to have the confidence to discuss doubts and qualify judgements. Pobble online moderation allows you to unlock powerful collaboration tools allowing you to easily create online moderation files, save them as evidence and share them with others. Your team can gain a clear understanding of what good writing looks like by accessing ready-made writing samples and creating your own school exemplars. The tools then help you to facilitate structured, balanced discussions and empower your team to learn from one another before confidently reaching accurate assessment judgements.
As part of our work with LAs, 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 the 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!"