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Moderation of writing assessment: know what the moderators have been told

Assessment  writing 389x267

NAHT has ensured the training materials used for the moderation of key stage one and key stage two teacher assessment are now available to schools.

In discussion with the Standards and Testing Agency (STA), we pressed the need for transparency in the training that moderators receive and highlighted that these materials would be useful to schools with the change of approach to the assessment of writing this year and in their preparation for the moderation of teacher assessment.


Below you will find the following documents:

KS1 and KS2 national training presentation slides which contain:

    • A script in the notes section for each slide; all moderators have heard exactly the same wording.
    • An explanation of the new guidance for writing including the 'more flexible approach', 'particular weakness' and 'good reason' as well as the changes to the frameworks.
    • Support for the activities which moderators engaged in, the materials for which are contained in the PDF training packs.

KS1 and KS2 teacher assessment moderation training packs which contain:

    • Useful suggested scenarios to illustrate ‘particular weaknesses’. They show examples of where a teacher judges that a pupil has a particular weakness which should not affect the assessment to a particular standard. They are also good to show that a pupil does not need to have any SEN or disability for a teacher’s professional judgement to apply.
    • Useful suggested scenario to illustrate where discretion should not apply and a pupil has more significant weaknesses across their writing.
    • Support materials for the activities which are examples of pupils' writing with commentaries.

Standardisation questions

    • STA has produced these questions and answers following the national teacher assessment (TA) standardisation events for local authority (LA) lead moderators and moderation managers, held in November and December 2017.
    • They answer questions asked during the events, which were not explicitly covered in the scripted training.
    • STA has provided them to ensure that all LA representatives have access to the same information.
    • The questions and answers are grouped under the headings, 'Key stage 1 and key stage 2 teacher assessment frameworks', 'Writing: references to a particular weakness', 'Independent writing/success criteria', 'Handwriting', 'Spelling', 'Exemplification', 'Reading', 'Moderation', 'KS1 and KS2 standardisation'. 
    • Particularly useful questions which are answered in this document include:
    • Have we moved to a ‘best fit’ model of TA or not?
      • If the requirement of a ‘pupil can’ statement is not applicable within a piece of writing, or a pupil chooses not to use it, should teachers encourage them to ‘shoe-horn’ in the evidence?
      • At KS1, does the pupil have to use all forms of co-ordination in order to be awarded the ‘pupil can’ statement?
      • The guidance in the frameworks says that teachers should only use their discretion ‘on occasion’. What does this mean?
      • What evidence does a teacher need to satisfy a moderator that they have used their professional discretion in excluding particular ‘pupil can’ statements?
      • What does ‘a teacher’s professional judgement takes precedence’ mean?
      • Would a particular weakness prevent the award of a higher standard?
      • Should moderators ask a school if any pupils have a particular weakness, and select these for moderation?
      • Do pupils with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia have to meet the ‘pupil can’ statements relating to spelling and handwriting?
      • Can I still use success criteria / learning objectives / marking ladders?
      • In English reading, what does ‘age-appropriate’ reading mean?
      • What happens if a school refuses to sign the LA’s proposed local agreement?


If you are concerned about the approach to moderation being taken in your Local Authority, please let us know by emailing with the details and any evidence you may have. We will then contact the team at STA. They want to ensure there is a consistent approach across the country and so will intervene if an LA area is not following the approach set out in their training.