Approaches to Moderation in Glasgow

Approaches to Moderation in Glasgow
"Moderation is the term used to describe approaches for arriving at a shared
understanding of standards and expectations for the broad general education. It involves
teachers and other professionals as appropriate, working together, drawing on guidance
and exemplification and building on existing standards and expectations."
Building the Curriculum 5
In Glasgow, a range of moderation approaches have been developed and used at school,
learning community and city level. For example during 2011-2012, a major exercise was
undertaken city wide, involving practitioners from every establishment working
collaboratively to provide all establishments with moderated 'Pictures of the Achieving
Learner' at each level in literacy and numeracy and subsequently in other curriculum
areas. These documents acted as benchmarks to be used in moderation activities and
sharing the standard, and are now gradually being superseded by Education Scotland's
Progression Frameworks. In addition, the authority published and distributed a practical,
small booklet explaining the purposes of moderation and offering a menu of useful
moderation activities which establishments, departments and learning communities could
As identified in BtC5, quality assurance 'helps to support teachers and build expertise and
capacity in the education system to deliver positive outcomes for children and young
people. '
To assist colleagues to build confidence and capacity in approaches to moderation, the
authority has also in each of the past three years, undertaken quality assurance through
city wide moderation sampling exercises. These have so far focussed on literacy,
numeracy and social studies and have drawn on relevant national guidance such as the
Principles and Practice papers.
To date, 86 establishments in 9 learning communities have participated in the exercises,
exploring the key high level questions:
 How confident are staff that children and young people are making progress in their
 How well are staff developing confidence in approaches to moderation?
BtC5 also states that' Through sharing, understanding and applying standards and
expectations, quality assurance helps to raise standards and expectations, and levels of
consistency across teachers and schools.'
Consistency is always a challenge to deliver across a large local authority. We believe
one key strategy in developing consistency is through robust professional dialogue. Our
city moderation exercises are based on the principle of encouraging professional dialogue
which is 'dialogue rich and bureaucracy light' with a minimal amount of documentation
required for the exercise. Following initial training, during May or June, three teams of
senior officers, including Heads of Service, Area Education Officers, QIOs and heads of
establishment engage in professional dialogue over a morning or afternoon with each
establishment in the three chosen Learning Communities. Dialogue takes place around
approaches to moderation and the teams also undertake learning conversations with, and
feedback on, groups of pupils whom the head has identified as 'achieving a level'. Each
establishment receives brief written feedback to support their next steps. At the end of the
week, the three teams meet to coordinate key messages which are captured in a city
report to all establishments and which also informs the authority's next steps in supporting