Arts Award Blog

So you've booked a moderation...

Author: Kate Attard

Date: 12 Jun 2017

We like to offer advice ahead of moderation this time each year, and with good reason! With so many advisers, centres and young people wrapping up Arts Award projects in the coming weeks we know that many of you will have questions. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve delivered Arts Award for years, these tips can help you towards a successful moderation.

What happens now?

After requesting a moderation date, you’ll hear from the moderations team with confirmation. The next thing you need to send to us is the young people’s names, no later than three weeks before your moderation.

If you’ve booked a standard or joint moderation, you’ll hear from your moderator shortly before the date. This is an opportunity to discuss any information you feel is relevant: it could be purely practical, such as where to get parked; or be further detail about any individual requirements the young people have.

Queens Park Community School 171

Anyone taking part in a postal moderation will need to send the young people’s work off to be moderated. For Bronze, Silver & Gold the moderation team will have sent you an address where the whole group’s portfolios have to go. These should arrive no later than one week before your moderation.

Explore postal moderations are slightly different. On the date you've selected, we’ll contact you to request a sample of your group’s work. These named log books should be sent within two working days of the sample confirmation date.

Leave yourself time

Your moderation might not be taking place for another few weeks, but it’s never too soon to think about assessment! Start checking young people’s portfolios, even if you know there’s still work to be done. You might spot gaps that need to be filled, or the portfolios might not be in the right order. Even if there’s nothing missing, getting your assessment report forms started now means less stress as the moderation date approaches.

When assessing work from Explore to Gold, our assessment criteria support resource offers guidance on how to relate young people’s work to the assessment criteria at each level. We also have Explore and Bronze & Silver evidence checklists to be used alongside your toolkit.

Lead the way

When you complete the assessment report forms nice and early, don’t forget to say where the evidence is. You can use page references; colour-coding; bookmarks; timestamps; hyperlinks: anything that directs a moderator to what you’ve seen that demonstrates how a young person has passed each part. This means that on the day your moderator won’t need to ask for more information or potentially struggle to find evidence.

Check out our step-by-step guide to the assessment report form, or a completed example of a Bronze form for more support.

Be organised

This might sound obvious – especially in light of the previous two points – but bears highlighting: put in place any arrangements you need to make internally ahead of the moderation. Do you need to book a room out? Transport for yourself or the young people, especially if the moderation is taking place at another centre? How about the portfolios: are they arranged alphabetically so that you can pick out individual examples on the day? Will the moderator need to view any portfolios online, or listen to audio files? Do you need to arrange cover while you meet the moderator, and will any young people be available? If you don’t think that any young people can be present on the day, don’t worry: you can request special dispensation.

Every centre will have their own arrangements to make, and once you have a moderation date in place start thinking about what these are.

Hackney Libraries Explore - arts research

Check the names

Before you submit young people’s names (remember, no later than three weeks before your moderation) check the spelling. As we've said elsewhere, the spreadsheet you send to us is what we’ll use to print certificates and you don’t want to have to request new ones in September.

Talk to us

We’re here to answer any questions you have about moderation and assessment, so you can always get in touch with the team on 020 7820 6178 or by emailing


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