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The Learning Record Assessment System
Grades, Scales, and Moderations

M. A. Syverson, Ph.D.

Information here is drawn from the publications of the California Learning Record and M.A. Syverson, and is used by permission.

What is the Moderation Process?

The moderation process is unique to the Learning Record model of assessment. It has proven to be a rigorous, reliable, and valid approach to scaling authentic assessment above the level of the classroom. It supports the judgments of teachers, while providing safeguards against inequities or bias. There are several principles that guide the moderation process:
  1. Stakeholders are integral to the process, which is public. Typically, teachers bring records to moderations where they read the records brought by other teachers. In college-level moderations where students are responsible for their own Learning Records, they are often involved as readers. However, parents, community members, and students are welcome and often serve as observers.
  2. Learning Records are read and discussed by pairs of readers, who reach an agreement about the student's level of achievement indicated by the Record's observations, interpretations, and samples of student work. Where they have questions about the Record,they can consult with the classroom teacher or teacher's representative to clarify a key point. For example, readers at one moderation noted that a research paper, normally assigned in sixth grade, was not mentioned in a student's CLR. The classroom teacher was able to explain that because of funding cuts, the school library had been closed the entire year, and research projects were canceled.
  3. The assumption that more contextual information about the learner and about teaching and learning situations, rather than less, is desirable. Although quantitative data can be abstracted and aggregated to provide large-scale accountability across classrooms or programs or regions, all data-numerical and narrative- are structurally coupled and interdependent.
  4. The assumption that the student and the classroom teacher, who are closest to the learning situation over the longest period of time, are the most qualified "experts" to make evaluations about an individual student's progress and achievement.

Moderation readings are held for multiple purposes: to ensure the quality, consistency, equity, and reliability of teacher judgments about student progress; to share best practices and inform instruction; to provide quantitative information for large-scale analysis; and to support professional development.

The Learning Record | © 1995-2006 M. A. Syverson

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