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Moderation in the digital age


author:Education Gazette

NZQA has been carrying out a staged release of a new digital moderation service.

In consultation with education organisations and in recognition of changing assessor needs, NZQA has been carrying out the staged release of a digital moderation service called the external moderation application.
This service has been designed to improve the external moderation process by which NZQA quality assures the internally assessed work taking place in schools and tertiary education organisations (TEOs) throughout the country.
NZQA moderates approximately 100,000 samples of learner evidence each year, which it receives from schools at the beginning of each month staged from March to December. TEOs similarly submit materials between June and March.
The physical moderation process saw valuable time lost in transit, as education organisations would send learner evidence through to NZQA, it would be reviewed and then returned. The process could take a number of weeks. 
The external moderation application makes this process quicker and easier by allowing education organisations to submit moderation materials online.
A future release will also improve the appeals and clarifications processes, which has previously been a labour intensive process. The clarification process will now be a direct query to the moderator – providing the opportunity for more timely feedback and allowing teachers to adjust their assessment practices if necessary.
NZQA Deputy Chief Executive Digital Assessment Transformation Andrea Gray says the external moderation application will give schools and TEOs greater control of the moderation workload.
“Digital submission means more education organisations can submit their learner evidence when it is ready, rather than waiting until their planned submission date.”
Learners are increasingly producing and submitting their work digitally. Education organisations already storing this work online can use this facility immediately. Other schools will transition to providing online material gradually. Importantly, the option to provide physical material is still available.
“While we’re excited about the opportunities that digital moderation will have, there are still some challenges ahead: we’re considering how to account for work that doesn’t translate well to digital formats. But, as is good practice in a project like this, we have options in place to carefully manage the moderation processes if we strike any issues,” says Ms Gray.
Online training is available as new functionality is released, and education organisations are being supported by NZQA’s relationship managers.
One of NZQA’s Future State goals is to see 100% of moderation materials being submitted digitally by 2020.
This work supports other projects within NZQA’s Future State programme of work, to modernise and work  tomodernise and digitise a number of the functions that NZQA administers.
 
Education Gazette April 2017
 
 
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