To some, the term implies a greyness, somewhere between the polarised views of extremes. However, as a moderate person, I reserve the right to draw from the extremes and occasionally to do something to excess if that serve the purposes of the moment. Moderate does not necessarily mean grey, even if the hair has turned.
Moderation implies to me a search for common understanding. Applied to different aspects of the teacher role, it has huge potential to be a development tool.
I know we are not required to use the term levels now, but any development framework is likely to have aspects akin to levels. Let’s say that two teachers work side by side with the same age group.
If they bring together work outcomes, talk about them and agree a common view on the merits of the work, they will be sure that the two class expectations are common to both, at the same time deepening their understanding of their children and their needs.
- If moderation occurs across a school, there is common assent to decisions regarding achievement and progress expectations.
- If moderation occurs across schools, an area wide understanding occurs.
- If outcomes of National testing are seen as moderation, the outcomes provide exemplar material to support internal moderation.
- If moderation became a common tool across all schools, supported by external expertise as necessary, there would be a reduced need for formal testing, so we could save money on SATs testing.
- If specialist in-house teachers became trained moderators, for internal and external use, the use of such people would provide opportunities for mass CPD and lead to higher expectations, based on a common understanding.
- If lesson observations became a moderation exercise, based on the common agenda of the teaching standards, then feedback would be developmental. Nobody is perfect all the time.
- If Ofsted and other assessment/inspection visits were moderation visits, to validate the judgements of the internal moderation team, we would establish expectations common to every school in the country.
- If Ofsted inspectors moderated each other, the judgements across every establishment would be consistent.
- If judgements across every classroom in every school in the country were common, as a national educational establishment we would make progress.