• Streamlining moderation policy and processes

    The aim of moderation is to ensure that assessment is fair, valid and reliable. Moderation is especially needed when assessment involves large units or multiple markers, occurs on different campuses, is subjective or differs across students. Policy and process structure informs moderation practices in most cases in the ‘domestic’ context while additional policies and guidelines may operate in transnational contexts. Our research indicates:

    • The language in some current transnational moderation policies is that of control and audit
    • Moderation in practice tends to focus on 'post' processes with institutional variability
    • Assessment regimes are rarely negotiated among TNE teaching teams with a lack of shared understandings
    • Delays occur in marking and moderation feedback with lack of specificity in feedback
    • Australian staff consider marking by some partner staff as lenient, with loose referencing and different attitudes to plagiarism, where nobody fails. There is also concern that partner staff provide only summative (mark) feedback and teach to the exam

    While partner staff want to be trusted, recognised as professionals, included in curriculum and assessment decision making, Australian staff want to retain control to ensure standards are maintained, and satisfy quality audit resulting in discontent:

    "We have a high level of capable, upwardly mobile students who, from time to time, score very well.  We find that often we get, ‘Please reduce your marks across the board by 5%’. What does some lecturer sitting in Australia know about my cohort?" Transnational partner academic

    Clip ArtListen to what transnational partner academics say about the need for trust (mp3, 828KB), need to see Australian marking (mp3, 502KB), post hoc scaling (mp3, 194KB) and delays in moderation (mp3, 583KB). These are direct quotes from interview transcripts read by actors.

    Clip ArtListen to what Australian academics say about the gap between policy and practice (mp3, 692KB), trust (mp3, 210KB), and need to respect transnational partner academics (mp3, 843KB). These are direct quotes from interview transcripts read by actors.

    Our research suggests considerations for policy makers to streamline moderation policy (PDF, 173KB) that emphasise the need for joint partnership amongst the transnational teaching team with institutional support. Effective moderation practices identified are:

    • Develop a mature academic partnership between the Australian and transnational academics (working together for three or more teaching iterations of the subject)
    • Build rapport, have teaching team approach, meet each other face-to-face
    • Co-develop assessment items, negotiate curriculum and consider local contexts
    • Use marking criteria, discuss standards and variations in marking, cross mark a selection of assignments, seek peer feedback from the teaching team on performance of subject co-ordinator
    • Avoid post-hoc adjustment of marks/grades
    • Develop technology to assist moderation processes and train Australian and transnational staff in use of related technology

    The resources below cover moderation processes in general and suggestions for improving moderation in transnational contexts. They can assist you to streamline moderation policy and processes: