Assessment Verification and Moderation

1 Introduction

1.1 The University needs to be assured that robust, effective and consistent assessment verification and moderation processes are taking place in all subject areas across all Colleges.

1.2 The detailed processes are likely to vary according to local circumstances. However, it is necessary the assessment verification and moderation systems of all Colleges are based on a "minimum threshold" purpose of assessment verification and moderation, standard roles and standard processes as outlined below. 

2 Purpose

2.1 Verification of assessment briefs and examination papers provides assurance that students are assessed effectively; each assessment is valid and reliable; knowledge, skills and behaviours (for apprenticeships) can be met. It provides transparency in relation to the marking criteria for students and can, where appropriate, enable comparability of outcomes across academic subjects or multiple delivery locations. As well as assuring that assessment briefs and examinations meet the programme and module learning outcomes, it ensures robust assessment criteria, an associated marking rubric, that there is appropriate stretch and challenge, as well as meeting any external assessment requirements. 

2.2 Moderation of assessed student work is a process separate from marking and provides assurance that assessment criteria have been applied appropriately; programme and module learning outcomes are met; knowledge, skills and behaviours (for apprenticeships) are met. It reflects the shared understanding of the markers. 

2.3 Moderation can, where appropriate, enable comparability of outcomes across academic subjects, for instance in recognising that students may be studying more than one subject or that the same module is delivered in more than one location. Moderation focuses on the marks awarded to the full set of assessed work for an assessment or module, in the context of University Regulations, FHEQ and the academic standards for the award. It is therefore separate from the question of how differences in marks between two or more markers are resolved and is not about making changes to an individual student's marks. 

2.4 Moderation does not entail a second allocation of marks (second marking), for example with reference to Independent Studies. 

3 Policy

3.1 Assessment briefs and examination papers are to undergo internal Assessment Verification prior to the start of the module, and to publication to students. 

3.2 In addition, External Assessment Verification is required for all taught modules at Level 5 or above or at the External Examiner's/Programme Leader's request. It is to take place at least once during each academic year, ideally at the first instance of a module, and requires that the process is repeated if substantive changes to assessments are made. 

3.3 All assessed work submitted for credit in programmes leading to University of Derby awards shall be subject to a process of internal moderation. This policy extends to all modes of assessment and all delivery locations. Where assessed work is not in written form, every effort should be made to apply some appropriate form of moderation. 

3.3 When assessment is undertaken by collaborative partners, international moderation must be carried out by University staff in accordance with the procedures below. Moderation already carried out by the collaborative partner's staff through locally determined mechanisms is to be encouraged as good practice but is not sufficient to satisfy the University's requirements. When there is no direct equivalent University programme, internal moderation must be carried out by a designated member of staff of the University's most cognate programme. Where assessment is in a language other than English, the University's Translation Policy is to be applied. 

3.4 External Moderation is required for all taught modules at Level 5 or above, or at the External Examiner's/Programme Leader's request.

4 Moderation Procedures

4.1 Procedures for all modules/programmes:

i. First mark all completed assessments. Evidence of marking and an indication of how marks have been awarded should be shown on all assessments (coursework and examination).

ii. The internal moderator (a member of staff other than the first marker) should

(a) Test marked samples from every delivery location (home provision and collaborative provision, as specified in the Operational Manual) and every mode of study (full time, part time, online and distributed learning). Each sample should:

(b) Form a firm view of the appropriateness of marks allocated to students:

(c) Complete the relevant parts of the Moderation form using the University template on:

iii. The Moderation form should be provided to the External Examiner for completion of External Moderation where it is required.

iv. For collaborative programmes, the production of the Moderation form and subsequent action, will be monitored by the member of staff at the University with designated responsibility for the partnership.

5 Timing of Moderation

Moderation of coursework may take place after the return of work to students in order that it does not hinder the timely return of work to students (on the basis that feedback to students always informs them that marks are subject to moderation). In all cases the Moderation form should be completed in time to inform assessment boards and Module and Programme Self Evaluation Reports. It should be noted that the sample of work that is moderated internally is the same sample provided to the External Examiner for External Moderation, and that this is to be archived for use in external audit and review.