Moderation practices in a faculty of education: The four discourse model [accepted manuscript]

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Adie, Lenore
Queensland University of Technology
conference paper description
Moderation of student assessment is a critical component of teaching and learning in contemporary universities. In Australia, moderation is mandated through university policies and through the new national university accreditation authority, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency which began operations in late January 2012 (TEQSA, 2012). The TEQSA requirement to declare details of moderation and any other arrangements used to support consistency and reliability of assessment and grading across each subject in the course of study is a radical step intended to move toward heightened accountability and greater transparency in the tertiary sector as well as entrenching evidence-based practice in the management of Australian academic programs. In light of this reform, the purpose of this project was to investigate and analyse current moderation practices operating within a faculty of education at a large urban university in Queensland, Australia. This qualitative study involved interviews with the unit coordinators (n=21) and tutors (n=8) of core undergraduate education units and graduate diploma units within the faculty. Four distinct discourses of moderation that academics drew on to discuss their practices were identified in the study. These were: equity, justification, community building, and accountability. These discourses, together with recommendations for changes to moderation practices are discussed in this paper.