Our top 10 tips for assessment and getting moderation ready

Our top 10 tips for assessment and getting moderation ready

Picture of Kat Stapley-Smith

BY: Kat Stapley-Smith
14 Dec 2023

Nobody enjoys admin, but it’s only when something gets missed that you realise how important those processes can be. Such is the case with Arts Award assessment: a wonderful project needs to be assessed properly to make sure that everything is in place. Fortunately, we’re here to help with some tips on completing your assessments and getting ready if your centre is selected for moderation.

  1. Remember the criteria

Before you enter young people for Arts Award, advisers need to ensure all portfolios have been assessed and are ready for possible moderation. When assessing young people’s work there are two things to compare it against. The evidence requirements for each part are found in your adviser toolkit, and underpinning the whole award are our assessment criteria. You’ll find these in the toolkit at the end of each level, outlining the level of skills and knowledge expected from young people.

Through their evidence, young people will show how their art form knowledge and understanding, creativity, and communication have developed. At Silver and Gold they’ll be expected to have planning and review skills as well. Pay close attention to the toolkit, because even though the criteria names are the same across levels the standard required isn’t! The communication skills required for Silver are a higher level than those at Explore, for instance.

The adviser’s assessment is recorded on the ‘enrolment and marks spreadsheet’ – please read the updated Arts Award toolkits for more information.

  1. Use the adviser toolkit to complete assessments

The most obvious tip, but the most important! As the Golden Rule of Arts Award, this had to be high up on our list. When completing the 'enrolment and marks spreadsheet', check very carefully that the evidence requirements for each section have been met. Remember the moderator is validating your assessments, not the young people’s work, so use the toolkit and be confident when you award that Pass mark. You might find our evidence checklists for Explore, Bronze and Silver useful.

  1. Provide any useful contextual information

If you have any young people with learning difficulties or individual requirements, it’s a good idea to include a ‘communication profile’ in the front of any relevant portfolios/arts logs to explain how that young person communicates and expresses themselves. This gives context regarding their individual learning and communication needs.

  1. Read the guidance

Familiarise yourself with the guidance on the new moderation process including entering young people’s details and marks, and how to use the new portfolio submission platform by downloading the updated Arts Award toolkits.

  1. Have young people’s names been spelt correctly?

Double checking everyone’s names are spelt correctly on the 'enrolment and marks spreadsheet' before you hit ‘submit’ will save you having to order any replacement certificates. We will use this spreadsheet to create the certificates.

  1. Be clear about where the evidence is

If your centre is selected for moderation, you will need to complete an 'evidence locator form' for each young person in the sample to tell the moderator exactly where they can find the evidence. Simply writing ‘portfolio’ won’t narrow things down and doesn’t give the moderator enough information about how the adviser arrived at the assessment decision, so be specific. You don’t need to enter lots of information, but try and include file name, page/slide number, and video/audio time code to guide the moderator.

The signposting is key! If there is no clear direction to the evidence, which in cases where portfolios are large and disorganised could mean the moderation will be referred by the moderator – this doesn’t mean that young people haven’t produced fantastic work, only that the moderator doesn’t know if it has been assessed accurately. The ‘enrolment and marks spreadsheet’ is also a useful audit for advisers, as it requires you to be specific about why you feel a young person has completed their award successfully. If you start your assessment early this could be really helpful if there are any gaps in the evidence.

When completing the ‘evidence locator form’ form it’s important to put yourself in the position of someone who hasn’t seen any of your young people’s hard work. Where should a stranger go to find evidence for Bronze Part C? How will they know this young person has demonstrated art form knowledge & understanding?

We can’t emphasise this point enough: be specific.

Ensure that evidence is grouped, and labelled so it is clear which section of the award it relates to by organising the files in the correct order; Part A, Part B etc. Where you have created individual files containing evidence for multiple parts, ensure to use suitable headings or chapters for each section for easy navigation. 

Portfolios must be organised according to our guidance, which you can find in the updated Arts Award toolkits.

  1. Submitting portfolios

Once you have completed the evidence locator form and organised each portfolio as stated in the guidance, you will need to upload the selected sample portfolios into the online submission platform. If your students have produced hard copy portfolios/arts logs, like for example sketch books or scrap books, then you will need to digitise them, so make sure you set some time aside to scan/take photos of these.

  1. Check, check and double check!

Once you have uploaded the files or URLs into the portfolio submission platform, check they open and are legible and that any video and audio files play by opening or downloading them again. This way you will access the files exactly as we/the moderator will view them.

Where you are providing hyperlinks to external sites ensure they open and are to public sites that do not require a password. 

You should also ensure evidence is legible in digital format. This means that all handwritten work can be read and photos and videos have been rotated and play the right way up.

Where any of the requested evidence is missing or is not legible, or any of the files cannot be accessed, the moderation will be referred by the moderator.

  1. Enjoy it!

Both you and the young people have worked hard to get to this point. Moderators are there to check that the assessments are accurate, but they’re also there to support you by offering developmental feedback and suggestions. They’ll have seen portfolios from all kinds of settings, young people and different levels, so do take on board what they say.

  1. Get in touch

And finally, remember that if you have any questions about assessment, criteria, entering young people for Arts Award or about moderation, you can contact the Arts Award team who’ll be happy to help you. For more detailed information on entering young people for Arts Award, please see this webpage. Good luck!

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