Towards the end of last year I had a couple of conversations with different people at different ends of the country. Both conversation mentioned three ideas, unrelated at the time; eportfolios, moderation & National Standards.
However it got me thinking if there was a relationship between the three and while this post has been sitting on the tip of my fingers for a while,with the recent development of the Moderation Online component in MyPortfolio it is time to get my thoughts down.
Assessment Online has a great section on moderation, clearly defining moderation, outlining its purpose, and providing resources and suggested processes for implementing it in a school or cluster. My only issues with this resource is that it does not take into account the possibilities and potential of how technology can connect educators together enabling a national or global network of moderation.
Moderation is the process of teachers sharing their expectations and understanding of standards with each other in order to improve the consistency of their decisions about student learning. Assessment Online (2010).
So what does this mean when the word online is slotted in at the front of the definition? Does it still make sense?
Online moderation is the process of teachers sharing their expectations and understanding of standards with each other in order to improve the consistency of their decisions about student learning.
I think so and can see it happening in a couple of ways. In the first scenario shown below the moderation process is brought about from a teacher sharing a sample of student learning and their initial assessment of it in their professional eportfolio.
Once posted in the teacher’s eportfolio, the process of moderating the assessment can begin by drawing on the views, expertise and the two way sharing of other learning examples with other educators in the teacher’s PLN. This process is replicated face to face many times throughout NZ each year, both within schools and across clusters. What changes here is that the process has moved to an online space/eportfolio, opening up the depth and breadth of moderation.
Elements of this have been online for some time, except that it has been a one way situation where robust dialogue and the sharing of ideas has been absent. The best example of this is how examplars have been posted on TKI/Assessment Online, but embedding this in a collaborative online space will provide a much richer resource professional discourse. More schools and clusters are also beginning to use tools such as voicethread to start moderation conversations of student learning.
I can see a lot of potential in this moderation process as part of a teacher’s eportfolio (sure it can happen in other online spaces but when you throw in evidence for the Registered Teacher Criteria, a professional eportfolio is all about working smart).
The second situation where standards, eportfolios and moderation could work is shown below.
In this instance, it is initially student directed where they are responsible for selecting work to represent achievement of a standard. This is shared with their teacher and in turn with other relevant personnel who are able to share and post other examples of learning as a reference. Once the moderation is complete, the outcome of the moderated assessment is given to the learner and the teacher is more informed about teaching and can plan the appropriate next steps. As with the first example, elements of this are happening in and across school but not necessarily in an online space or as part of an eportfolio process.
If I look at the two scenarios above, they both have advantages. The first example can work across any age level from ECE to tertiary and from students with special needs to mainstream and can easily be aligned to the teaching as inquiry framework. The second scenario involves the student as part of the process critically reflecting on their learning, both independently and teacher guided, so the moderation additionally has close ties to assessment for learning practice. Both are about the teacher building their understanding and capability to consistently assess student learning, build self-review skills and put in place improved teaching programmes for improved student outcomes.
The scenarios outlined above are the first two examples that came to mind of how the possible relationship between standards, eportfolios and moderation might actually look in practice. What I would love to know is how you may already be doing this, how you are moderating online and how an eportfolio may be part of this process. What I would also like to know is what framework the new Moderation Online space is built around, or whether it is more organic and will develop as users needs are recognised.
If you have any answers to these questions I would love to hear from you.