Guidelines for external moderation


Guidelines for external moderation:

Access to HE Diplomas


Access moderation guidelines Aug 10 v3

Gateway Qualifications

John Tabor Building

University of Essex

Colchester, Essex



01206 873023









Access to HE Diploma


These Moderation Guidelines aim to provide External Moderators with information on the purpose of moderation, the role and responsibilities of the Moderator, Gateway


’ procedures and paperwork related to moderation and quality assurance requirements for providers. Updates are provided electronically for inclusion in the Gateway

Qualifications Access Quality Manual.

The guidelines should be read in conjunction with:

Gateway Qualifications

Access Criteria and Quality Standards

, v5 April 2010

Gateway Qualifications

Moderator Code of Conduct

, v2 August 2010





All moderation documents and report forms may be downloaded from the website




The purpose of moderation

The moderation model for Access courses

Moderation visits





Final assessment meetings

Reporting requirements and recognising good practice

Subject moderation

Key roles and responsibilities








Appointment of moderators

Code of Conduct for External Moderators

Glossary of terms

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



1.1 Gateway Qualifications is licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher

Education (QAA) to act as an Access Validating Agency (AVA) for Access to HE

Diploma qualifications. The QAA is responsible for ensuring that AVAs operate in accordance with its criteria.

1.2 Principles 3 and 4 of the QAA Access to HE Licensing Criteria relate specifically to the quality assurance and enhancement of Access courses and academic standards.

The moderation model operated by Gateway Qualifications is designed to ensure compliance with QAA licensing criteria, and in particular to meet the requirements that the AVA

“is able to assure the quality and fitness for purpose of Access to HE courses at the point at which they are granted formal approval, and to have effective means to develop, evaluate and review the Access to HE provision for which it has responsibility


1.2 Learners who successfully complete an Access to HE Diploma receive a ‘QAArecognised’ Access Diploma certificate, the award of which is confirmed by the

Access Centre Moderator. In all circumstances, even where providers have Approved

Internal Verifiers (AIVs), the final award of credit for Access courses must be verified by the Access Centre Moderator who will also authorise the Recommendation for

Award of Credit (RAC).

1.3 The continuing AVA approval of an Access to HE Diploma will depend upon a

C entre’s ability to meet all requirements for external moderation and to comply with the AVA

’s Access Criteria and Quality Standards.



2.1 Moderators are key figures in the quality assurance procedures of the AVA (Gateway

Qualifications) providing an invaluable link between the Access provider and the

AVA. During the moderation process the Access course is reviewed to ensure that it operates as stated in the approved Access submission document and that the quality of the course is continually evaluated and enhanced.


“has established a system of regular external course monitoring and assessment (‘moderation’) through which the quality, comparability and fitness for purpose of Access to HE courses, and the consistency and sufficiency of standards of student achievement, are assured”.


Moderators must operate with due regard to objectivity, impartiality, fairness and equity. They are appointed by, and responsible to, the AVA and must comply with the AVA’s Code of Conduct for External Moderators.


They are external to the provider and must be able to demonstrate a sufficient degree of independence from


QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Principles and criteria for the licensing of Authorised Validating Agencies,

October 2005


Gateway Qualifications Access criteria and quality standards v5,

April 2010


Gateway Qualifications, Code of Conduct for External Moderators v2, Sept 2010

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


the Centre they are appointed to moderate as well as from admissions processes at any receiving HE institution, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.

They can be viewed as the ‘critical friends’ of an Access provider and the course team. I t is important to emphasise that the Moderator’s role is always supportive and developmental, rather than judgemental.

2.3 The function of moderation may be summarised as the maintenance and enhancement of the quality and fitness for purpose of Access to HE courses and will include:

Verifying the standards of student achievement leading to the award of credit for

Access courses and to the award of the QAA-recognised Access to HE Diploma.

Ensuring that the operation of the course is in accordance with the approved submission document.

Providing an overview of the conduct of assessment.

Ensuring that all students are receiving fair and equitable treatment.

Monitoring systems within providers which promote consistency in the award of credit for Access courses, e.g. Internal Verification and standardisation activities.

Monitoring the student experience on the course.

Supporting the course team in the continuous improvement of the course and providing an on-going and accessible source of critical advice

Ensuring the quality and consistency of Access courses across centres offering

Access to HE provision accredited by Gateway Qualifications.

Providing expert moderation at subject level


3.1 An

Access Centre Moderator

is appointed for each Access provider. In cases where there are a large number of Access courses running, or where there are a number of delivery sites, a Centre may be allocated 2 centre moderators, each of whom is responsible for a particular part of the Access provision.

A Centre Moderator will be appointed to a Centre for a maximum of four years, after which the Centre would usually be reallocated to a different moderator.

The Access centre moderator usually makes 3 visits to the provider each year, as stated in their work profile, and will attend the Final Awards Board. Additional visits may be agreed with the AVA. Where there is a second cohort of learners commencing in January / February these courses are moderated separately and also require a moderator to complete 3 visits per year. Moderators are issued with a separate work profile for this provision.


Access Subject Moderators

support the Access Centre Moderators by focusing on the quality and standards of assessment at subject level. They receive samples of students’ work by post from a number of different Access providers in February /

March each year. Centres operating courses with a second cohort commencing in

January / February are also required to provide a sample of these students’ work in

May / June for moderation.

Reports from subject moderators provide detailed information on the quality of a particular Access course at subject level. They also allow the AVA to compare consistency of standards of assessment across the Access provision in the region.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


Subject moderators are not required to visit providers, though may do so if it is agreed with the AVA that this is necessary. The exception to this model is Art and

Design, where postal sampling is not practical and visits to providers are made to review students’ work. In order to compare consistency of standards, Art and Design moderators are requested to moderate in more than one centre where possible.



Access Quality Reviewer

process, supporting is responsible for overseeing the moderation moderators and organising induction, training and standardisation activities. They may accompany moderators on visits to centres and will also attend a number of Final Awards Boards


Although not part of the Access moderation model

Quality Reviewers

are also appointed by the AVA to audit centres against Centre Recognition criteria and monitor quality procedures for non-Access provision. Quality Reviewers visit all

Gateway Qualifications Recognised Centres, usually annually.


Lines of reporting:

Reporting to the Director of Quality, the Access Quality Reviewer receives and reviews all moderation reports. Visiting and reporting deadlines are noted in moderators’ work profiles and the Access moderation calendar.

Subject moderation report (ASM07):

Reports copied to Access Centre moderators

Access Coordinators in the relevant centres

Centre moderation reports (ACM03, ACM04):

Moderators should provide the Access coordinators with copies of initial and interim reports following their visits

Final visit report (ACM05)

Reports copied to Access Coordinators

Quality Managers

AVA Quality Reviewers for the relevant centres

Subject moderator (where specific issues related to a particular subject area have been reported)

A summary of all moderation reports, actions and outcomes of moderation and standardisation sessions will be provided to Moderators during staff development and standardisation meetings. A moderation action plan, updated annually, is monitored by the Gateway Qualifications Access to HE Committee.


Internal Verification

The AVA requires that a transparent and effective system of Internal Verification underpins, supports and articulates with external moderation processes. The AVA will continue to work with providers to strengthen their Internal Verification systems and guidance is provided in Gateway Qualifications

’ Internal Verification Policy




Gateway Qualifications Guidelines for Internal Verification: Access to HE Diplomas

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



4.1 Timing of visits

The Access Centre Moderator is responsible for contacting the Access coordinator to arrange a schedule of visits within 10 working days of receiving their work profile and moderator agreement.

Moderators must notify the AVA of visit dates once arranged.

Course starting


Initial visit



Interim visit



Final meeting / Final Awards



By 15 th


Report due by 31 July



/ Jan-March April-Sept By mid-February

Report due by 28 February

4.1.1 In the case of courses which have learners who complete the course at different times throughout the year (roll-on roll-off), visits are arranged in agreement with the

Centre and AVA.

4.1.2 Moderators may request authorisation for an additional visit if this is felt to be necessary; a written request outlining the reasons should be submitted to the

Director of Quality. No additional payment will be made without prior authorisation being obtained. The AVA may also identify circumstances in which an additional moderation visit is required. Centres will usually be charged for any additional moderation visits. The fee will be notified to them by the AVA prior to any additional visit.

4.1.3 It is particularly important to ensure that the date of the Final Awards Board is arranged early and the date notified to the AVA. The AVA is required to send a representative to all Final Awards Boards to ensure that arrangements meet AVA and QAA requirements.

4.1.4 Moderators should agree an agenda for each visit in advance, and advise the Access

Coordinator / course team leader of any documentation they will want to see.

Moderators should use the

Gateway Qualifications Moderator Visit Plan

for this purpose and provide the Access coordinator with a copy


4.2 Purpose of moderation visits

4.2.1 The focus of moderation visits will differ from provider to provider and will be agreed in advance by the moderator. The purpose of moderation visits are to:

Obtain information to enable a judgement to be made on whether the Access course in practice accurately represents the content of the submission document

Ensure that the Access course remains fit for purpose

Ensure that the provision complies with


Access Criteria and Quality




Gateway Qualifications Access criteria and quality standards

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


4.2.2 During visits moderators will:

Review internal moderation arrangements for the course

Consider all or a sample of assessment evidence, e.g. portfolios, in order to verify assessment of learner achievement.

Meet tutors and learners and to seek comments on the way in which the course is running

Evaluate whether the course is able to adequately address issues of equality and diversity

Check whether action points from the previous centre and subject moderation reports have been, or are being, addressed

Review marketing and recruitment materials

Evaluate course organisation, structure and management

Ensure that record keeping is sufficient

4.2.3 The Centre Moderator would not usually be required to observe teaching in progress unless at the request of the tutor, or for the purpose of observing assessment in a practical activity.

4.2.4 It is important for moderators to meet with learners in order to understand and monitor the learner experience of the Access course. The



Child Protection


requires that moderators do not meet with individual learners under the age of

18 without a parent or tutor being present. This also applies to vulnerable adults.

Moderators must ensure that they adhere to this policy.

4.2.5 When visiting Access providers’ premises, moderators are expected to take note of and conform to health and safety requirements specified by that organisation.

4.3 Focus of visits

The table below outlines the specific focus of each moderation visit however it is understood that this may differ from Centre to Centre.






Review previous action plans

Review submission document

Meet course team

 

Advise on subject moderation strategy

Agree sampling method, units to be sampled and number of samples to be sent

Moderators required to complete

Samples summary form

Discuss assessment strategy, including grading, and review units of assessment

 

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



Discuss assessment briefs and other assessment documentation, including those for grading

Discuss issues raised from subject moderation reports and agree actions

Discuss internal moderation policy, review IV records

View learner and course tracking records

Meet learners to assess student satisfaction with course

Review accuracy of marketing and publicity materials, check use of AVA and QAA logos

Discuss and approve any planned amendments to course

(sign NAPA form)

Sample student portfolios to verify assessment of achievement

Review and confirm Rules of







Confirm the award of credit and sign Recommendation for Award of Credit (RAC)

Review any requests for extensions or mitigation

Review any evidence presented for APL, credit exemption or credit transfer

Attend Final Awards Board


Requirements for Access providers

4.4.1 Access coordinators / course team leaders will:

Provide a suitable meeting space for the moderation visit

Have to hand all documentation required by the moderator, which should be notified in advance on the completed Moderation Visit Plan.

Arrange meetings with learners, and other members of the course team if appropriate

4.4.2 Access coordinators should expect to provide all or a selection of the following documentation for the moderation visits:

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010




Response to last moderation reports, including an action plan

Access submission document

Rules of combination for the course/s

Internal moderation policy and evidence of this working in practice

Assessment tracking and record keeping systems

Self-assessment report or course improvement plan

Assessment briefs / tasks

Rationale for any proposed changes to the course (and completed NAPA form)

Access marketing and publicity materials

Group / class lists

Plan for completion of subject moderation requirements

Student portfolios

Data on completion, achievement and progression

Completed RACs and any requests for extension or mitigation

Records of requests for representation relating to grades awarded, and the outcomes

Any requests for referral of grading to the Final Awards Board

Evidence used for APL, credit exemption or credit transfer


All Access to Higher Education Diploma courses are required to hold an internal

Exam Board and a Final Awards Board for each run of the programme. Within an

AVA formal authority for the award of Access to HE Diplomas is delegated to the

Final Awards Board. The Access Centre Moderator, and one other person appointed by the AVA, act as the AVA's representative at the Final Awards Board.

Separate guidance is available on the

AVA’s requirements for the organisation and conduct of Final Awards Boards for Access to HE Diplomas.


The AVA also provides a standard agenda for use at all Final Awards Boards, a template for minutes and proforma report forms for the Centre Moderator and AVA representative

5.3 The Final Awards Board is a meeting of the Access Diploma course team to which the Access Centre Moderator is invited to review a sample of portfolios from all those completed, to confirm the profile of results agreed at the college’s internal Exam

Board meeting and sign the Recommendation for the Award of Credit (RAC). The moderator will also make final decisions on borderline decisions, referrals, extensions and mitigation.

5.4 The Final Awards Board must be held before 15 processed in good time and certificates printed. th

July, in order that results can be

5.5 The following documents will be presented at the Final Awards Board:

Criteria for successful completion of the Access Diploma (validated as part of the formal Access Diploma submission)

Rules of Combination (ROC) for each Access to HE Diploma.

A copy of the Access submission document (for consultation if necessary).


Gateway Qualifications Conduct of Final Exam Boards

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


An agreed results profile for each learner. This should directly address the programme’s Assessment Regulations and assessment strategy.

Records of any representations (by learners to challenge grades) and the outcomes of this process

Records and documentation related to any requests for referral being brought to the Final Awards Board

Minutes of the internal Exam Board.

Completion, achievement and progression data

Any claims for award of credit based on credit exemption (for example from

GCSE Equivalent units), credit transfer or accreditation of prior learning (APL)


6.1.1 Centre moderators are required to provide 3 reports per centre per year to the AVA: initial, interim and final reports (ACM3, ACM4 and ACM5). Moderators should provide the Access coordinator with copies of the initial and interim reports; the final reports will be copied to centres by the AVA once they have been reviewed by the

Access Quality Reviewer and Director of Quality.

6.1.2 Subject moderators are required to provide a report (ASM7) which comprises a report on each sample submitted by a Centre in a particular subject area (Part A) and a short summary report comparing the samples reviewed in all centres in the subject area (Part B). Separate guidance on completion of the report form is available.

6.1.3 All moderators are required to complete and return a moderator update form at the end of each academic year to confirm contact details held and signal the intention to continue with moderation duties for the following year. Any changes to moderation arrangements will be notified to the moderator and the centre.

6.2 Identifying good practice

The AVA requires moderators to make every effort to identify and record good practice in the organisation and operation of Access courses. There are sections in both centre and subject moderator forms where moderators are required to note any good practice found.

6.2.1 Good practice is identified when a provider, whilst meeting the requirements of

Gateway Qualifications Access Quality Standards, is continually striving to make their

Access courses and the way they are organised and operated the best they can be.

Good practice will not be the same in every centre.

6.2.2 Good practice can be identified where policies, systems or other methods of operation, management or organisation of the Access course are seen to be exemplars and therefore practice which is recommended to other providers.

Moderators are expected to report on the impact of Good Practice on the quality of the programme. Any exemplar documentation identified by moderators should be clearly noted in reports. This will be made available to other providers via the

Gateway Qualifications website.

Examples of good practice identified in recent moderator reports have included:

Excellent monitoring of end of year progression routes

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


Excellent assessor feedback practice using focused and developmental language, providing support for future skills development.

Effective use of the college VLE ( Moodle) to support learning and including,

Student handbooks, assignment schedules, information on unit assessment and grading and individual learner records.

Consistent use of a specialist software programme to detect plagiarism for all assignments.

Involvement of Access staff in all processes, from enrolment to completion, providing a strong sense of ownership and a supportive and stable learning environment for learners.

Guidance for research projects is given in three clear stages with well managed timescales enabling learners to complete to a high standard and comfortably to deadline

Use of text messages as a means of communication with learners.

Use of a newsletter to help former Access learners to keep in touch and to share information with current Access learners

6.2.3 It is important that moderator comments are detailed, clear and constructive rather than merely critical and, wherever possible, include suggestions for improvement.

Evidence is always required to support moderator judgements. Moderators should identify Urgent Actions (for the immediate attention of the centre and/or the AVA), action points to be addressed before the commencement of the next cohort of learners, and / or recommendations for improvement to be considered by the provider in the course of the provision.

6.2.4 Ev en where the response of the moderator is ‘yes’ (denoting that practice and /or evidence is satisfactory), moderators should still seek to expand upon this response in the space provided in the report. Where additional comments are only provided when an answer is ‘no’, this can lead to a misleading and unbalanced report.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



7.1 The external scrutiny of Access courses at subject level is a requirement of all

AVAs and forms part of the Access Quality Standards with which all Access providers must comply. The external moderation of specific curriculum areas within

Access programmes takes place largely through the postal submission of samples to

Subject Moderators appointed by the AVA.

7.2 It is important that Centres are able to complete the subject moderation requirements within given timescale as the outcomes of subject moderation are used by Centre

Moderators to inform the focus of their visits, their action planning with Centres and their ability to verify the award of credit.

7.3 Separate guidance on subject moderation is available and is sent to all moderators and providers prior to the subject moderation exercise each year.


7.4 Access Subject Moderators are required to scrutinise and report on the assessment process, internal moderation and learner achievement. It is not possible to externally moderate every learner’s work, and it is not considered necessary to do so; the

Moderator’s judgment on this is achieved via sampling of assessed assignments.

Sampling is an essential feature of both internal moderation and external moderation arrangements.

The purpose of subject moderation is:

To ensure that assessment judgements at different levels are appropriate and consistent

To ensure that assessment judgments relating to Grades are appropriate and consistent.

To ensure that the Grading Model for the Access Diploma is consistently applied across subject areas and Centres.

To ensure that methods of assessment are comparable and applied effectively

To ensure that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the learning outcomes have been achieved

To ensure that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the appropriate grade has been achieved for the unit.

To ensure that evidence is valid, authentic, current, sufficient and inclusive

To ensure that robust Internal Verification procedures are in place

To promote consistency and standardisation across subjects, Centres and the


7.5 Access providers are required to complete a

Subject Moderation Samples Summary


with the Access Centre moderator during the initial moderation visit, indicating the number and type of subject samples which will be submitted to the AVA by the specified deadline.

7.6 Subject moderation samples will consist of a minimum of 5 examples of all assessed work from one unit for each subject area. I.e. marked assignments from 5 different learners for one unit which has been completed recently. A sample should be representative of the cohort, therefore where cohorts are significantly larger than 25 students Centres should provided a sample equivalent to the

√ of the cohort.


Gateway Qualifications Subject moderation guidelines v5, Dec 2009

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


7.7 There is currently no charge for Access subject moderation, however additional charges will apply where additional moderation of Access work samples is required outside of the specified timescale. This may be as a result of late submission of samples by an Access Centre. This charge will apply at the rate of £50 per sample.

7.8 The following subjects will usually be sampled each year:

Core subjects

GCSE Equivalence subjects

Specialism subjects

Communications and study skills

Core Maths/ Numeracy

Information Technology




* Art and Design


Business Studies


Education /Teaching

English language and literature

History, humanities, cultural studies




Maths (specialist)

Nursing and Health Studies



Social Work



8.1 The Access moderation model includes standardisation activities for Centre moderators (Access Quality Forum) and subject moderators and for specific parts of

Access provision such as the GCSE Equivalence scheme. All moderators are required to attend the relevant standardisation meetings each year, as specified on their work profile. The outcomes of standardisation are used to inform the work of the AVA and the content and focus of staff development activities for providers and moderators.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



9.1 The roles and responsibilities of all those responsible for the quality, consistency and fitness for purpose of Access provision are summarised below:

Role of Access Centre Moderator

The Access Centre Moderator will

Ensure that they have a clear understanding of the course, in particular by giving careful consideration to the Access submission document, any

 previous moderator reports and other relevant documentation

Ensure that they are familiar with the AVA’s Access Quality Standards and are able to monitor Access provision against these criteria.


Carry out the proces s of external moderation for a centre’s Access provision, undertaking all visits as outlined in their work profile (usually 3 per year)

Monitor procedures in respect of all aspects of delivery and management of

Access provision, including Internal Verification, to ensure that they are in accordance with the approved submission document and that there is

 consistency and comparability in approach across the centre

Ensure that the grading system is applied correctly in relation to assessment and award of grades

Ensure that providers can comply with requirements for subject moderation and advise on sampling strategy

Meet with students to monitor and record the learner experience

Liaise with key personnel in the institution: usually the Access Co-ordinator or Course Manager

Provide critical advice to providers in order to support the continuous enhancement of the quality of Access provision

Monitor the accuracy of provider’s publicity materials for Access and the correct use of the QAA’s Access logo in accordance with QAA guidelines.


Produce and submit moderation reports to the AVA as specified in the work profile (usually 3 per year)

Sample completed portfolios across the range of the organisation’s Access provision to monitor the standards of assessment and student achievement.

Verify the award of credit for the Access to HE Diploma by signing a recommendation for the award of credit, subject to satisfactory reports from

Access Subject Moderators, satisfactory sampling of completed portfolios and the achievement of the approved rules of combination

Attend Final Awards Boards

Attend induction, training and standardisation meetings as required by the


Attend Access validation panels

Comply with the AVA’s Code of Conduct for External Moderators

Comply with Gateway Qualifications

’ Equal Opportunities Policy


Gateway Qualifications Access criteria and quality standards v5,

April 2010


QAA Guidelines for use of the Access to HE logo,

August 2008

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


Role of Access Subject Moderator

The Access Subject Moderator will:

Ensure that they have a clear understanding of the provision, in particular by giving careful consideration to the recognised course units and to other relevant documentation provided in the sample

Ensure that they have a clear understanding of the process and criteria for awarding grades

Verify the achievement of learners in a specific curriculum area through sampling work submitted for their scrutiny, ensuring that the principles of assessment are applied and that there is consistency between tutors and organisations.

Produce and submit robust and timely reports for the AVA promptly after moderation.

Provide critical advice to Centres in the reports in order to support the continuous improvement of AVA accredited Access provision.

Visit centres for Access to Art and Design courses. Other centres may be visited subject to agreement with the AVA but this is rare.

Attend induction, training and standardisation sessions as required by the


Comply with the AVA’s Code of Conduct for External Moderators

Comply with Gateway Qualifications

’ Equal Opportunities Policy

Role of the Access Quality Reviewer

To monitor quality processes operating in Access providers to ensure the security of the award of credit.

To provide advice to Access Centre Moderators, in accordance with the AVA

Quality model, in relation to their quality assurance duties.

To scrutinise and summarise moderator reports.

To liaise with subject moderators in the moderation of Access programmes at subject level.

To monitor centres in accordance with Access Criteria and Quality

Standards, and advise Director of Quality of any urgent actions for centres.

To provide feedback to moderators on the quality of their reports and suggestions for the focus of future moderation activities

To deliver induction, training and standardisation activities

To attend some Access Final Awards Boards as the AVA representative

To comply with Gateway Qualifications

’ Equal Opportunities Policy.

Responsibilities of the Access Coordinator / Course Leader

To ensure that effective Internal Verification takes place and is recorded appropriately

To ensure that all learner achievement is recorded and appropriate evidence of learner achievement is presented for moderation, including that related to the award of grades

To ensure that the timing of Internal Verification is appropriate for the Access moderation cycle

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


To submit to the AVA by the published dates samples of learners’ work for each required curriculum area for subject moderation

To liaise with the Access Centre Moderator to ensure that all visits can be completed to schedule

To ensure all required documentation is made available to the moderator when required.

To set a date for the Final Awards Board as early as possible, inform the AVA of the date, and invite the Centre Moderator to attend.

To ensure appropriate evidence is presented to the Moderator to enable a recommendation for the award of credit to be signed.

To ensure all requests for referrals, extensions and mitigation are recorded and presented to the Moderator, with the appropriate evidence

To take action in response to moderation reports and ensure that the course team are informed of the outcomes of moderation and relevant actions.

To complete an evaluation of the moderation activity, using forms provided by the AVA

Responsibilities of the AVA (Gateway Qualifications) to Access moderators

In order to support moderators in fulfilling their duties, the AVA will:

Provide each moderator with a work profile and moderation agreement each year which clearly details the work they are expected to undertake.

Ensure that moderators are not usually appointed to moderate a centre for more than 4 years.

Provide training and induction to develop the skills required to carry out moderation duties effectively

Provide additional support and advice necessary to carry out duties effectively

Produce and provide up to date guidance and support materials to assist moderators

Provide moderators with the necessary documentation to undertake their duties

Inform moderators of changes to any arrangements, policy or procedures promptly

Facilitate dialogue between moderators and Access coordinators and tutors within the network

Facilitate standardisation activities within the network

Respond to queries from moderators promptly, politely and effectively

Pay all moderation fees and travel expenses on receipt of the Final

Moderation Report (ACM5) and an appropriate invoice

Acknowledge receipt of reports and forward copies to the centre and other moderators as appropriate.

Give due weight to the professional comments of the moderator in their reports and take appropriate action on all points where a response or action by the AVA is required.

Provide the moderator with feedback on their reports and moderation activity.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



10.1 The AVA welcomes applications from prospective moderators and an application form may is available from the AVA and can be found on the Gateway Qualifications website (

). If the application and references are satisfactory, the prospective moderator is added to the pool of potential moderators and contacted when a suitable vacancy is found. Acceptance into the pool is not an offer of work.

10.2 Moderators must not have worked within the centre they are appointed to moderate within the previous 2 years. They must be able to demonstrate a sufficient degree of independence from the centre they are appointed to moderate, as well as from admissions processes at any receiving HE institution, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.



Moderators are issued with an Agreement to act as a moderator on behalf of the

AVA, and a work profile which stipulates the courses to be moderated, the number of visits, number of samples and any other duties required. Moderators will usually receive an Agreement and an initial work profile during August which lists the centres and / or courses which the moderator will be offered provided the courses are running in September.

The Moderator Agreement is for 1 year, and may be renewed after this period. The normal term of office for a moderator to work with a particular centre is no more than

4 years. This is to ensure externality and also to provide a fresh perspective.

10.5 The AVA may terminate an Agreement on any of the following grounds:

Failure to arrange visits and produce adequate and appropriate reports and documentation within the regulations and guidance established by the AVA

Behaviour or statements which undermine the AVA

’s commitment to equality of opportunity and widening participation

Failure to attend induction or training as appropriate

Any action which brings or may bring the AVA or any of its Access providers into disrepute

Any breach of the mod erator’s obligations under the Agreement


If the Moderator wishes to resign, a minimum of 30 days’ written notice must be given to the Director of Quality.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010




(September 2010)

Gateway Qualifications is licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to act as an

Access Validating Agency (AVA) for Access to HE Diploma qualifications. In signing a

Moderator Agreement with the Gateway Qualifications, Moderators agree to abide by the

Code of Conduct for External Moderators when working on behalf of the AVA.

External Moderators will:

Act in ways which do not bring the AVA into disrepute.

Promote the best interests of the AVA at all times.

Maintain an appropriate level of objectivity and independence, notifying the AVA where there is any possibility of this being compromised.

Act in a supportive and professional manner at all times.

Treat learners, centre staff, AVA colleagues and members of the public with common courtesy and respect.

Act within the job specification supplied to the External Moderator at all times.

Not discriminate against learners or tutors on the grounds of their origin, race, status, sexual orientation, age, disability or beliefs.

Respect the privacy of learners and not divulge any confidential information.

Respect the confidential nature of the External Moderator’s role, and not divulge nor communicate any confidential information to any company, business entity, organisation or the media.

Respect the laws on copyright.

Give precedence to the professional responsibility of the role of the External Moderator over personal interests.

Act within the expectations of Gateway Qualifications Equal Opportunities statement.

Observe fully and at all times the Health and Safety Policy of the Centre and the AVA, as appropriate, and comply with accident reporting procedures.

Declare any interests which may conflict with their work as an External Moderator.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010


Glossary of Terms

Access to HE Diploma


Assessment strategy

Assessment plan

Assessment criteria





Credit Value

External moderation

The Qualification awarded to students who successfully complete an Access to HE Diploma Programme

Assessment is the way in which a tutor can measure what a student has achieved. Assessment is done through a range of assessment activities and provides a framework for feedback and the recognition of student achievement.

A strategy for the assessment and reassessment of student work across the Access programme which is approved at the point of programme validation. It will provide the optimum opportunity for all students to achieve the Access to HE Diploma, including consideration of equality and diversity, resources and timescales.

A plan for the assessment of performance across a whole unit, including assessment methods, assessment tasks, evidence of achievement, grade descriptors and grading elements to be used for each assignment

The criteria used by all parties (learner, tutor, moderator) to inform, share and make explicit the judgment made by the assessor of whether a learner has achieved a set of learning outcomes.

The person with responsibility for the assessment of student work, often this person is also the tutor

The student’s work which will be assessed in order to measure whether a student has achieved all or some of the learning outcomes in the unit.

An assignment may consist of several smaller tasks.

Access Validating Agency. Gateway Qualifications is licensed as an AVA by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Credit is awarded to students for the successful achievement of the learning outcomes in a unit. One credit is awarded for those outcomes which the average learner, adequately supported under optimum conditions, might reasonably be expected to achieve in

10 hours of learning. (1 credit = 10 hours)

Ascribed to a unit to describe the number of credits a learner can achieve through successful completion of a unit. The credit value for a unit is related to the notional hours of learning, including guided learning hours and self study hours, required to complete the learning outcomes in the unit.

External Moderators undertake quality assurance activities on behalf of an AVA. External moderators for Access programmes are Access Centre Moderators and subject moderators.

The indication of performance for each unit successfully achieved

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



Grade descriptor

Grade descriptor element / component

Grade profile

Internal Verification


Internal verification


Learning outcomes

Level, Credit Level

Provider / Centre




at Level 3. Grades can be pass, merit or distinction.

This describes the level of performance in 7 key areas which are required in order for a student to achieve a merit or distinction.

List of indicated performance criteria within each grade descriptor which are used to make a judgement about the grade achieved for an assignment

This is the list of grades a student has achieved for the Access programme; one grade for each unit successfully completed at

Level 3. A grade profile will contain between 45 and 60 credits.

A process by which assessment decisions and practices are regularly sampled and evaluated, and findings are acted upon, to ensure consistency, equity and fitness for purpose across Access courses or pathways and Access curriculum areas.

Although this may form part of IV processes, and the term is often used interchangeably with IM, the AVA usually refers to IV as the process of verification of assignment tasks and assignment briefs by another tutor, internal moderator etc. prior to being given to students.

Statements which clearly identify what a learner will be able to know, understand or be able to do as a result of successfully completing a unit of assessment.

A description of the complexity of learning involved in a unit.

Access courses use two credit levels, Two and Three. The level is assigned to each unit and determined by referencing the learning outcomes and assessment criteria against a set of level descriptors

Level 2 units are not graded.

The organisation responsible for the delivery, assessment and

Internal Verification of the Access to HE Diploma.

Recommendation for the Award of Credit forms; once completed by the Tutor and signed by the External Moderator, they enable certification to take place.

The process by which a tutor can request an additional opportunity for a student to resubmit work in order to achieve credit for a unit, if the first resubmission has been unsuccessful. This can only be agreed by an External Moderator at the Final Awards Board.

The process by which an individual grade for an assignment (grade indicator, or informal grade) may be contested by a student. This is primarily dealt with according to providers’ internal processes but will be monitored by the External Moderator and Final Awards

Board as appropriate.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010



Rules of combination




The process whereby a student can submit additional work, or reproduce work in order to achieve all the learning outcomes for a unit.

This describes the combination of mandatory and optional units and number of credits which must be achieved by a student in order to be awarded an Access to HE Diploma. Rules of combination are approved by the AVA at the point of programme validation.

A process undertaken to ensure that there is a common approach to assessment and grading and that consistent standards are secured in the award of credit and grades.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

A coherent and explicit set of learning outcomes which defines key areas to be studied and assessed in a specific subject area. Units can have a credit value of 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 or 12 credits. Each should have a title, learning outcomes, assessment criteria, credit value and credit level.

Access moderation guidelines Sept 2010