National external moderation principles

Rule 10.1 of the Directory of Assessment Standards Listing and Operational Rules 2021 (DAS Rules) requires standard-setting bodies to undertake national external moderation of assessment standards in accordance with the Consent and Moderation Requirements, which are set out in Rule 10.3.

Standard-setting bodies stipulate Moderation Requirements in the Consent and Moderation Requirements (CMR) document, to which each assessment standard is attached. The purpose of the Moderation Requirements section of the CMR is to provide details on the national external moderation system, to ensure that assessment decisions of education organisations with consent to assess are consistent with the national standard.

What is the purpose of these principles?

While specific Moderation Requirements are detailed in the CMRs, NZQA and Transitional Industry Training Organisations have also developed these National External Moderation Principles to:

  • ensure there is a common understanding of standard setting body responsibilities in relation to the Rule 10.3 of the Directory of Assessment Standards Listing and Operational Rules 2021
  • provide a common frame of reference for NZQA’s monitoring of the quality and results of a Transitional Industry Training Organisation’s systems and procedures for its moderation activities.

The principles follow the requirements of Rule 10.3 (a) to (f) of the DAS Rules and have also been designed to reflect the principles underpinning the Evaluative Quality Assurance Framework and ngā kaupapa o Te Hono o Te Kahurangi.

Workforce development councils (WDCs) were established in October 2021. NZQA and WDCs will review the principles over time to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

You can download a pdf version (PDF, 95KB) of these principles.

National External Moderation Principles

National external moderation of assessment standards must:

(a)  ensure assessment practice is fair, valid and consistent

Fair Assessment processes, activities, conditions and marking provide equal opportunity for all learners to achieve.
Valid Assessment has a clear purpose and measures what it aims to measure. Assessment activities and assessor decisions reflect the knowledge, skills, and application of knowledge or skills required to meet the learning outcome at the appropriate NZQF level.
Consistent Assessor judgements are reliable and accurate across all learners, regardless of who does the assessing or when the assessment occurs.

(b)  be appropriate to the nature of the learning outcomes and assessment evidence collected

  • Moderation is flexible and accommodates a variety of learning outcomes, assessment contexts and evidence gathering methods.
  • Moderation appropriately enables and supports Mātauranga Māori based learning and assessment.

(c)  provide confidence that learners have achieved the specified standard

Moderation provides assurance to the standard-setting body, learners, employers, communities and other stakeholders that learners have achieved the learning outcomes for which they have been credentialed.

(d) provide confidence in the reliability and consistency of assessor judgements about learner performance

  • Assessment design and judgement guidance result in consistent measurement of learning, within and across education organisations and assessors.
  • Moderation systems include sufficient sampling to enable a national perspective on the consistency of assessment of a standard or group of standards.
  • The sampling methodology and moderation activities are workable, realistic and practical for assessors and moderators.

(e) be cost effective

  • Moderation systems and processes are designed and implemented to ensure that costs to all system participants are reasonable in relation to the volume of moderation undertaken and the benefits and assurance provided.
  • The intensity of moderation undertaken reflects the stakes associated with the standards being assessed and the assessing organisation’s previous performance in national external moderation.

(f) focus on improving assessment practice.

  • Moderation systems and processes enables and support good practice in assessment, teaching and learning.
  • Moderation reports provide assessors and education organisations with clear, actionable and timely feedback.
  • There is a clear process to enable assessors and education organisations to query moderation findings and/or challenge moderation decisions.
  • National external moderation results are used to clarify standards interpretation and inform standards review.
  • Moderation practice evolves to reflect innovations in assessment practice.
  • Examples of good assessment practice are shared and promoted with assessors and assessing organisations.
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