External moderation is conducted in most cases by OCN London Centre Moderators for the approved centres to which they are appointed, in liaison with each centre’s Quality Assurance Contact. Sometimes it will be done by a Specialist External Moderator for a sector or a cluster of courses if this has been agreed with the centre Moderator or where it is a requirement of a particular qualification. External Moderators will scrutinise the evidence for all units offered by the centre in the sectors, clusters or qualifications for which they are responsible. They will:

  • Sample assessment and learner evidence of achievement.
  • Ensure that rigorous processes are in place for; the assessment, internal moderation, tracking and recording of individual learner achievements and learner evaluations, in accordance with OCN London requirements.
  • Sanction the certification process via the ERAC system.
  • Provide a written report which will be sent to the centre.

The centre’s quality assurance contact will request an external moderation engagement and this may be a centre visit or a remote sampling. It is recommended that the external moderation engagement is booked as soon as possible (particularly if this is anticipated in the end of the academic year) and for centre visits 6 weeks’ notice is required. Prior to the engagement the relevant completed Electronic Recommendation for Award of Credit (ERAC) forms indicating unit achievement for each learner must be completed (these must be uploaded before the day of the external moderation/verification engagement). By uploading the ERAC the centre Quality Contact has taken responsibility has taking responsibility for checking the accuracy of the results

If you have not received a copy of the ERAC for each cohort of learners you have registered or there are problems with the ERAC you have been sent, it is extremely important that you contact your Centre Support Officer at OCN London before the external moderation/verification event takes place. Unless the ERAC is uploaded the external moderation/verification cannot take place.

  • The external moderators must be able to select random samples from ALL of the units from all of the learners for which credit is claimed.

    For centre visits where there are logistical difficulties, for example if there are many portfolios and/or they have to be transported over a large distance, it may be possible for the External Moderator to agree a set sample before the visit. However, even where this is the case it is important to ensure portfolios could still be accessed if necessary at a later date and until the relevant ERAC has been confirmed for certification by the external moderator. If paper portfolios are sent to OCN London for external moderation these must be sent by postal recorded delivery, delivered by hand or courier. Copies of work should be kept.

    Portfolios need to be presented in a way that makes it straightforward to locate evidence of units and individual assessment criteria within each unit. There should typically be one portfolio for each learner, with their name clearly displayed. Where learners have completed multiple units, these should be in a consistent sequential order within each portfolio and the portfolio should have a contents page where significant numbers of units are involved. Electronic evidence must have consistent naming of the documents with the learners full names as they appear on the ERAC and a system which allows for the location of evidence against unit assessment criteria.

    Assessment paperwork should have the full unit name and code clearly displayed. For each unit it should also indicate where evidence of individual criteria is located; this is sometimes done with a unit front sheet and page numbers, but there are other alternatives including annotating the evidence itself with the criteria number. The paperwork should also be signed and dated by the assessor to confirm that assessment is completed. For electronic evidence there must be a clear distinction between the learners work and assessors comments (different colour ink or font can be used) and assessment records must be with each learner’s submission.

    Assessment tasks or briefs need to be available for all units, showing exactly what learners were asked to do. Where these are long and/or complex, it is helpful to link the different parts to the assessment criteria they relate to.
    Ideally, class handouts and other content that does not relate to assessment should be removed from portfolios. If this is impractical, it should be easy to distinguish between these and the actual evidence learners have produced.
  • Copies of each unit being put forward for sampling, including learning outcomes, assessment criteria and prescribed and optional assessment methods.
    This should be the official OCN London document rather than something you produced based on this, as the External Moderator/Verifier needs to make sure that the internal documents you are using are accurate. In addition, if you are delivering any national units, you must have a full copy of the relevant qualification guide.

  • The relevant internal moderation records.
    Records should include; pre assessment moderation of assessment tasks, a sample plan showing evidence that the process has been planned and giving a summary of the sampling activity, records for each portfolio sampled and any observations made, a feedback report to the Assessor for each cohort of learners that has been sampled, and records of any standardisation meetings held.
    The Internal Moderator should be available during the visit, unless it has been agreed with the External Moderator in advance that this will not be required.
  • Learner evaluations of the course(s) they have undertaken.
    These could be the original feedback sheets, or a summary prepared by tutors.

External Moderators’ reports are made available to the Centre and form an important source of evidence for the centre quality improvement plan.