Promoting Fairness in Moderation with Comparative Judgement


A stimulating guest post by Suzanne McMahon, Deputy principal, Borrisokane Community College, who is using Comparative Judgement as a moderation tool for video assessments.

In Ireland we have just completed a nationwide project using Comparative Judgement assessment aimed at the new 1st year Junior Cycle English course. It was a collaborative project between 10 different schools and 12 English teachers across the country. No face to face meeting occurred: all correspondence was through email. 

Each class group was asked to work in small groups, max 3 students in the group. They recorded a 2 -3 minute interview using any device. Some classes decided to do a TV style interview with a student acting as a celebrity whilst others acted as a poet and the other students asked the poet questions about their poem. Videos were recorded and edited using various devices and software.  Teachers and students then uploaded their videos to the nomoremarking website. Each teacher then simply judged each interview in pairs on their device and picked the one they considered the best. Each interview got at least 18 judgements.

The features of quality for assessment had been agreed before judging. These included Communication, use of Language (Oral), engagement with the Audience, Quality of the content, video and Technical quality and Originality. 

A ranked order of achievement for each class group as generated by the computer algorithm was sent back to each class group and teacher. Teachers could compare how each student group ranked against each other in the class and against other students nationwide. 

Interviews were available to the teachers as sample work of varying qualities. The tool promotes fairness and is useful in external moderation. 

Feedback from the teachers included: 

‘I really think this tool has massive potential for assessing pupils work. It can also work as a moderation tool’

‘I found the use of Comparative Judgement to be very objective and transparent. I can see how it could have a huge role to play in judging student’s work in the new Junior Cycle Framework’

‘It was a great programme to be part of. And the pupils really enjoyed and excelled at it.’ 

‘Had skills I was not even aware of. Will try to use it again but make sure to continue to link to the syllabus as it can be time consuming’

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