Changing assessment practices: The case for online moderation

Year: 2008

Author: Adie, Lenore

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Online moderation meetings have the potential to support the collaborative professional development of teachers, and the formation of a common understanding of what denotes quality in student work in a standards based assessment system. In doing so systemic calls for consistency across education systems are also being met. In this paper a case for employing online moderation meetings is developed through recourse to the demands of learning in the twenty-first century and the place of assessment within those discourses. It is argued that empirical data is needed on the efficacy of online moderation meetings to guide future practice as the use of information and communication technologies increases in education systems. Online moderation is one way of gathering teachers across vast distances to share their understandings and develop common meanings of assessment.

While it is suggested that online moderation is one possible procedure to meet systemic requirements and support teachers' professional collaboration, the implementation of such a system also introduces new challenges for schools and teachers. Meeting online to discuss professional understandings is a new way of operating for teachers and involves technology that has not yet been fully utilised within education departments. Issues such as the types of interactions that are afforded within such an environment, as well as technical operating problems that occur when using technology impact on the employment of online meetings. Online moderation meetings while potentially solving the issue of developing common understandings across an entire department also pose new issues to be resolved.

There is a need for research into the efficacy of online moderation meetings so that future policy decisions may be based on sound empirical data. It is imperative that as new ways of knowing and acting are incorporated into school curriculum and pedagogy, assessment practices are also aligned. Online moderation meetings can support such practices by enabling teachers to communicate with a wider and more diverse group of teachers to establish common understandings.