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NAHT achieve changes to 2017 external moderation guidance

On 31 October 2016, the revised guidance on the 2017 external moderation of teacher assessment in writing at KS1and KS2 was published. 

NAHT received a significant increase in the number of calls from members with concerns about moderation in 2016 and we formally wrote to the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) to express these concerns and put forward necessary solutions for the short term.

NAHT have been negotiating hard on behalf of members to achieve these key changes and are pleased that the STA has engaged constructively with us to address our concerns in the guidance as shown in the table below.

NAHT concerns…


NAHT recommended

What has been achieved

Interpretation of “consistently” with regards to secure fitfor KS1 and KS2

NAHT members reported wide variation with some moderators accepting nothing less than 100% of the time.

NAHT recommended that STA’s guidance makes clear that “consistently” does not mean every time.

The guidance explicitly states that “consistently” does not mean that the pupil must demonstrate an “I can” statement 100% of the time, that pupils will improve over the course of the year and may make mistakes in something their teacher knows they are secure in.

The evidence base for KS1 and KS2


Guidance only refers to ‘examples of pupils’ work’. Some moderators have asked for a very specific number of pieces to be included in the portfolio, for example six pieces with evidence for each ‘I can’ statement present twice across the portfolio.


In addition members have reported that moderation portfolios at KS2 were rejected because they were derived only from English and literacy work.

NAHT recommended that STA guidance explicitly stipulates that schools determine the evidence base and that moderators ought not to ask for a specific amount.



NAHT recommended that if English and literacy work provides depth of evidence to support teacher judgements this should be acceptable.

The guidance now explicitly states that LA’s must not dictate what schools’ evidence should look like or how it is presented. They should not expect portfolios or checklists of evidence.


The guidance makes clear that although teachers should be encouraged to draw upon work from across the curriculum, English and literacy work alone may produce the necessary evidence.

The importance of professional dialoguefor KS1 and KS2


Guidance for both key stages clarifies how this should feature in the moderation process. NAHT members have reported that this has been interpreted and applied inconsistently. Our concern is that, nationally, sufficient weight has not been applied consistently to this aspect of evidence.

NAHT recommended that STA reinforces the importance of paying due regard to professional dialogue and teachers’ knowledge of their pupils work in the moderation process.

There are increased references to the expectation for “professional discussion” to take place and importance placed on teachers “professional judgement”.It is also made clear that moderation is a collaborative process between the moderator and the school.

LA requests for pupil data

for KS1 and KS2

Guidance clearly states that there is no requirement from STA for schools to submit TA judgements to their LA in advance of any external moderation visit.

It is evident from members’ communications that several LAs have asked schools for data in advance.

NAHT recommended that STA’s guidance should state data must not be requested before arrival at a school to carry out moderation.

The guidance states that LA’s must not ask schools to provide TA judgements in advance of an external moderation visit.

Independently produced workfor KS1 and KS2


Indications are that some moderators have introduced additional criteria to establish whether work is independent including reference to learning aims and objectives. This is a prime example of where ‘professional dialogue’ could provide the opportunity to establish the precise context within which the work was produced.

NAHT recommended that the criteria in the guidance are the only criteria. If a moderator had concerns a professional dialogue should take place with the teacher about the context.


The guidance states that the criteria within the guidance are the only ones which should be used. It also states that class learning aims and objectives do not constitute additional support.

Defining the sample base for KS1 and KS2



For both key stages the guidance states that the sample must cover the ‘full range of attainment in the cohort’. The definition of this was not clear. Some LAs adopted the interpretation that this includes pupils working below ‘working towards’. Others have interpreted this to include only “working ‘towards’, ‘at’ or ‘at greater depth’.


NAHT recommended that the STA definition is made explicit in the future.

The definition is now explicit in the guidance. The sample of pupils does not include pupils working within the interim pre-key stage standards.

Date for submission of teacher assessment at KS1

There was a suggestion that this should return to an earlier date.

NAHT recommended that the date was kept at the end of June for both KS1 and KS2.

The deadline for TA data to be submitted to LA’s is Thursday 29th June.

Pupils who make further progress after moderation for KS1 and KS2

There has been a lack of clarity about the need for, and process of, remoderation of pupils who have made progress since external moderation has taken place. This has included pupils in the moderation sample and those outside of it.

NAHT recommended that guidance is clarified on this issue. If schools judgements about pupils are validated by moderators, the school should be able to submit revised judgements for pupils.

The guidance the school and LA moderator may agree that there are pupils who have the potential to meet the next standard after the moderation visit but before the 29th June. It is explicit what should happen in those cases and that agreed next steps are included in the LA record of visit.

Use of scaled scores in KS1 moderation


Schools moderated during the last week in May had raw scores available. Schools moderated from early June had scaled scores available.  This means that two sub-cohorts of moderated schools were moderated on a different basis.


NAHT recommended that this inconsistency is removed in the future through changing the dates of the moderation window.


The KS1 moderation window has been moved back and is now 5th – 29th June 2017. Raw score to scaled score conversion tables for KS1 tests and test materials will be available on 5th June.

Number of moderatorsfor KS1 and KS2


Guidance consistently refers to ‘the moderator’. NAHT received accounts of pairs of moderators, being sent to some schools, with the role and purpose of additional people not being made clear.

NAHT recommended that STA gives clearer guidance on this issue.


The guidance is clear that only one LA external moderator would be expected in the majority of cases.

If an additional moderator is needed, for example as part of quality assurance, schools must be made aware when notice of the visit is given.

Adequate notice of moderation for KS1 and KS2

What was considered adequate notice of a moderation visit was interpreted differently by different LA’s.

NAHT recommended that guidance should specify minimum notice required.

LA’s must give 48 hours’ notice of an external moderation visit. LA’s must tell their schools on or after 19th May 2017 if they are going to be moderated, so notice may be given much sooner.

First published 15 December 2017