How to prepare for external moderation

|3 min read

The letter has arrived. The moderators are coming. Now what? Here’s how to prepare your school for KS1 moderation (you’ll be fine, promise!).

Last year we underwent KS1 moderation. It was the first year that the local authority moderated textbook evidence. Our experience was positive; our teacher assessment judgements were upheld (in one case, upgraded). The feedback from the moderators commented on how our systems and pedagogy supported the use of textbooks. They also commended the rigour of our evidence.

In light of our experience, here’s some Teacher Assessment Framework advice, and how to prepare your school for KS1 moderation.

1. Present a shared vision

First things first, it’s important that your approach is aligned and that your evidence is clearly presented, accessible, and well organised.

Try to prepare a Year 2 information sheet that profiles your internal assessment system, moderation events you’ve attended, how you use data and AfL, and how your senior leadership team supports you (for more on information sheets, jump down to the end of this post).

2. Consider which children may be selected

As a moderator, it makes sense to focus on borderline children. Some children may have Key Stage 1 SATs scaled scores around 99-100 (perhaps even 98) and you’re assessing them as ‘Working At The Expected Standard’.

Similarly, you might identify some children as working at greater depth, but this isn’t accurately reflected in their scaled score. Disparity between scaled score and teacher assessment isn’t necessarily problematic.

Be ready to present your judgement confidently and practice articulating the children’s wider profile, including how they contribute to class discussions and their verbal responses to your questioning.

3. Carry out a mock moderation

When thinking about how to prepare your school for KS1 moderation, it can be helpful to practice. Once you’ve considered which children are likely to be selected, schedule an internal mock moderation.

Make sure that you’re ready to be challenged on your judgements. Have your responses ready for questions like:

“How can you be sure that this piece of evidence is independent?”
“How do you know that strand ______ is secure?”

Preparing for the worst-case scenario before the arrival of external moderators is a good way to increase your confidence in your judgements. It also highlights where any potential gaps in evidence might be.

4. Fill evidence gaps

After your mock moderation, you may find that you have some children who don’t yet have sufficient evidence. This is normal, so don’t worry. Sometimes moderators request further evidence on the day and this is all part of how to prepare your school for KS1 moderation.

Using specific additional activities to help fill these gaps can be useful, like these mini quizzes that Gaz Needle put together.

But word of warning — be aware that these quizzes are aligned to the Interim Teacher Assessment Framework (see my previous blog on ITAF vs TAF).

5. Consider the small things

Have the logistics of the day planned out in detail. This reduces any anxiety you may be feeling and lets you concentrate on presenting your evidence. A ‘to do’ list for the morning itself may be useful, including who is on biscuit sourcing duty!

6. Get whole-school support

Recruit your maths and English leads to be part of the moderation process. They will be able to substantiate your in-depth knowledge of the child with relevant points around wider school systems, data analysis and ensuring consistency.

When it comes to how to prepare your school for KS1 moderation, the key to success is preparation and building confidence. To help you in this process, download Joe Jackson-Taylor’s mock moderation design which includes challenging questions as well as teacher response scripts.

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