Are you wondering why the IB has made recent changes to moderation in the Middle Years Programme (MYP)?
We thought we’d share some excerpts from a conversation between principal examiner for personal projects, Patricia Villegas, and the IB’s Head of MYP Development, Robert Harrison to give you a little more insight into the rationale for change and the journey of MYP moderation since 1996.
ROBERT: Could you take us back to a time before MYP: Next chapter and explain how moderation of the personal project used to work?
PAT: Moderation was a process by which sample-assessed personal projects from teachers were reviewed and adjusted externally to ensure assessment had been carried out according to MYP criteria and standards. Schools choosing to have IB validated grades for their students had to participate in this moderating process. Schools chose personal projects from a range of achievement and sent them to moderators trained by the IB, who established and applied a global standard. The MYP assessment team applied a moderation factor that raised or lowered the school’s personal project grades, if necessary, to bring the school’s standard of marking in line with global expectations.
ROBERT: How did moderation begin in the MYP?
PAT: George Pook was the IB’s Head of Assessment in 1996, in charge of both the MYP and the Diploma Programme (DP). He developed the assessment model that introduced moderation to the MYP to validate whether or not schools were successfully using the assessment criteria.
PAT: Yes, and as the years went by and the number of schools interested in moderation grew, the IB had to adapt to the challenges this presented. They adopted a digital platform that replaced the face-to-face moderating team meetings and increased the scalability of the process – this enabled the IB to open up MYP moderation to more schools. But even as the moderation team grew, the process was still geared to only those schools that had opted for this optional moderation service. As wonderful as they were, the face-to-face meetings were very expensive, and we had to ask if they were the best use of scarce educational resources. A few years ago, we moved to a more structured and digitally-driven process. And then came the big changes associated with MYP: Next chapter and eAssessment.
ROBERT: I know a little about that …
PAT: No doubt! For moderation, MYP eAssessment offers solutions to some problems that the previous model of moderation posed for everyone. First, not all schools with students in MYP Year 5 students had been able to take advantage of the valuable feedback that could come from moderation. And second, as the programmes and school contexts grew into the hundreds, it was becoming more and more difficult to provide timely and consistent assessment results that schools expect from the IB.
ROBERT: These two problems created real opportunities for us. First, beginning in 2016, all schools with MYP students in Year 5 are required to register them for moderation of the personal project. The cost of this service is covered by the school’s annual fee. Second, moderation going forward will be structured by a formal hierarchy of examiners who will apply a single agreed standard;and the projects comprising each sample will be chosen not by the school, but by the IB through a process of dynamic sampling.
PAT: These are very exciting developments. I am thrilled that we will have better quality assurance, more consistent feedback, and an opportunity to involve more schools in moderation. It seems that there will be less paperwork and postage than ever! I think the programme’s influence and reputation will be enhanced. But it’s a little scary, too, at least for some schools and IB educators. I am a little nervous myself.
ROBERT: I can understand that. For schools that have been moderating for a long time, it’s a new process, and there won’t be customized personal feedback reports from a single moderator that many schools found very helpful for developing their programmes. For schools that have only participated in the monitoring of assessment every five years or so, it adds responsibility for annually interacting with MYP assessment and digitally managing student work. Change always brings both excitement and anxiety, loss and gain. We’re aware of the challenges, and lots of people are on hand to support schools in the transition to this new way of working with personal project moderation.
PAT: It’s an honour to work with educators around the world who are so dedicated to excellence. I love the MYP, and I believe it’s been a force for good in middle-level education for many years now. I’m sure the best is yet to come!
For more information see 10 Steps to Successful Personal Projects and send any queries to IB Answers where there’s a team ready to help you.
Visit this page to find out about becoming an MYP moderator and apply.