GCSE PE Practical Moderation – Tips & Tricks

Perhaps the most important day of the year on the Physical Education department calendar – Practical Moderation. Known to give many teachers and pupils sleepless nights, this day can define pupil grades and shape teacher performance reviews. Needless to say, it is important to get it right. We have come up with a number of tips and suggestions to make your practical moderation run smoothly this year.

1. Ensure that you have a practice moderation day. No matter how many lessons you spend talking through the moderation procedure with your pupils, there is no way that they will fully understand the process until they have taken part themselves. A practice moderation day will mean that all pupils are fully aware of the sports that they will be performing in, and also the drills and activities that they will be undertaking. This will make sure that there is a smooth transition between sessions, impressing the moderator and putting your pupils at ease. You want every moment possible to show off your pupils’ ability in each sport, needlessly explaining drills and organising teams will only hinder this.

“Give ample opportunity for pupils to show what level they are capable of performing at”

2. Skills in isolation should be both differentiated and pressurised. The lead examiner reports for Edexcel, AQA and OCR in 2018 all lean towards the fact that higher end pupils need to be given a chance to give higher achieving pupils a chance to show their ability. For example in netball, more able pupils may be given an isolated drill with more defenders or a smaller space than their weaker counterparts.

Overall, the skills session can be short and snappy, but must give ample opportunity for pupils to show what level they are capable of performing at. There is no requirement to bring in extra pupils for the isolated skills, but having more pupils involved may put candidates at ease and will also make it easier for the moderator to recognise the level of performance.


3. Draft in your superstars. For games activities it is likely that you will be required to involve other pupils at the school in order to make up a full-sided match. There is an argument to be had here in regard to bringing in mediocre performers who may make your GCSE PE candidates look even better. This is a risky strategy. The moderator will want to see a high level of performance and may well be impressed by a high-quality game rugby, football, netball etc. If you have graded your pupils highly, they need to be given a chance to show the moderator how good they are; and the only way that this is possible is against high quality opposition.

“Don’t let your pupil be the victims of your modesty”

4. Don’t be modest with your grades. Worried about giving your pupils too high a grade? Don’t be! You are a professional in your field and see pupils taking part in sport every day. If you think a pupil is worth full marks in a particular sport, then go with it. If your marking is a slightly generous, chances are no changes will be made. If your marking is very generous, the moderator may bring your grades down, but there is no shame in this and it should be seen as a learning curve. Remember that the moderator is unlikely to bring your grades up, so don’t let your pupil be the victims of your modesty!


5.Don’t coach or teach. As PE practitioners it is very difficult not to give the odd bit of advice and coaching during moderation. However, this is not allowed and if the moderator thinks that you have helped improve a pupil’s performance, they may actually bring their grade down. For this day only, you must see yourself as an organiser rather than a teacher. As mentioned earlier, a practice moderation day will go a long way to ensuring that your input is minimal on the day.


6.Get your player numbers up. Many schools only have small cohorts when it comes to GCSE PE, without the luxury of having enough players to play full-sided matches. For each sport there is a minimum amount of players that must be used in a match situation, for example in football the minimum amount of players is 7v7 (although this must still be on a full pitch). Playing small sided matches undoubtedly hinders your pupils’ chances of showing their ability because a large part of the grade is based on tactical awareness. If a pupil is playing 7-a-side football they will of course find it almost impossible to show the tactics and strategies required for an 11-a-side match. Make up the numbers with other pupils in the school, even if from different year groups if necessary.


7.Enjoy it! See the moderation day as a chance to show off your outstanding PE pupils! If you relax and spend the day with a smile on your face, your pupils will follow suit and give a better overall performance.



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