Internal moderation is the process by which a centre regularly samples and evaluates its assessment practices and decisions, and acts on the findings to ensure consistency and fairness.

It involves three key processes:

  1. co-ordination of the assessment process;
  2. sampling of assessed work;
  3. standardisation of assessment practice;

This process is conducted by one internal moderator or if there is more than one, a team of internal moderators who are under the direction of a lead internal moderator.

The role of the Internal Moderator is to ensure that:

  • Assessment is appropriate, consistent, fair and transparent and does not unintentionally discriminate against any learner;
  • Tutors/assessors receive ongoing advice and support, for example in designing assessment activities;
  • Learners clearly understand assessment requirements and are given opportunities to achieve against the assessment criteria;
  • Assessments are reliable, valid and consistent.
  • learners’ work is presented in a manner that enables effective moderation to take place;
  • evidence of learner achievement is clearly mapped to the assessment criteria;
  • Electronic Recommendations for the Award of Credit (ERAC) are accurate.

The Internal Moderator will need to arrange, through the Centre’s Quality Assurance Contact, for the sign off of the Recommendation of the Award of Credit through OCN London. Signing off will normally be conducted by the Centre’s appointed Centre Moderator, or possibly by an External Moderator who is a subject specialist.

Internal Moderation (IM) is the system that ensures learner evidence is complete and genuinely meets all the required assessment criteria. The process begins with the pre -internal moderation of new or amended assessment tasks to ensure they are appropriate. It is also the system that should identify and alert learners and assessors when they have not assembled evidence that meets all of the assessment criteria - and so are in danger of failing the learners work for that unit. If IM is conducted correctly and in time for the learner to be alerted and supported in producing any additional evidence, then the IM system can ensure the centre avoids learners being failed unnecessarily.

The IM is responsible for ensuring all portfolios are ready when presented for External Moderation. Learners who are found to have gaps in their portfolio of evidence at External Moderation will be failed because at that point, there is usually no time for the learner to come back and do any additional work. A robust internal moderation /verification system is therefore key to learner achievement and the Internal Moderator has to take responsibility for any learners they put forward being failed by the External Moderator. The IM should either pick up shortcomings in time for the learner to address them, or not put that learner forward as having achieved.

A robust internal moderation/verification system enables the External Moderator normally to only be required to sample learners’ work as opposed to all the learners’ portfolios. The External Moderator relies on the effectiveness and integrity of the centre’s internal system to not put forward learners who have not achieved. If the External Moderator finds the internal moderation/verification process is not effective and/or performed with absolute integrity, for example putting forward learners for an award whose work does not justify this, then the External Moderator will be forced to instead consider a much greater number of learners’ evidence themselves. Considering more learners is time consuming for the External Moderator and will cause delay. This situation may also result in the centre being awarded a ‘high risk’ status, since the integrity of the awarding system would be seen as compromised.

Internal Moderator usually need only sample assessments to ensure their assessors are assessing fairly across different units, assessors and levels. The Internal Moderator’s sample can also show that the Assessor has ensured that learner evidence is appropriate, effectively labelled, and fully ready for the External Moderator to consider. However, the sample strategy needs to ensure it covers appropriate elements, and including all different assessors, all different levels and different units or subject areas. The minimum sample is five portfolios or if less than five all the portfolios. For larger groups it should be 10% however this may vary depending on the size of the overall group, numbers of assessors and complexity of the course. If there is uncertainty about what would constitute an appropriate sample size the advice of the Centre Moderator should be sought.


Internal Moderation templates

OCN London has developed a set of internal moderation verification forms which are available for centres to use. These are based on good practice in centres as identified by Centre Moderators. They are not mandatory but recommended to new centres and to existing centres reviewing their IM practice. Internal Moderation forms for the Access to HE Diploma are available in the Access to HE Centre area.



IM5     IM Planning Tool