Pobble Online Moderation Tool

Lead Participant: Pobble Education Ltd


**The problem**

Education was one of the hardest hit industries by COVID-19\. This is partly due to the highly interactive, "offline" nature of many educational activities. English writing assessment moderation in Key Stage 1 (KS1) and 2 (KS2) is a clear example of this.

Moderation involves teachers and moderators physically meeting up to discuss children's writing from physical books to ensure benchmarking and consistency. Moderation activities occur across four main areas, all of which are delivered offline:

* Training of moderators and year 2 and 6 teachers by local authorities (LAs).
* School-to-school moderation sessions between neighbouring schools.
* The provision of external moderation services to schools by LAs and commercial organisations.
* Statutory moderation for a percentage of schools at end of Key Stage by LAs.

Schools and LAs in England spend over £40m on moderation activities annually.

Social distancing requirements and a focus on the protection of vulnerable parties may make moderation in its current form unworkable. Despite this, the Government confirmed that statutory moderation should proceed in the 2020/21 school year. This project seeks to provide an alternative solution to ensure that statutory and non-statutory moderation activities can proceed as planned, given social distancing constraints.

**The solution**

Pobble is an award-winning, cloud-based software solution for teaching writing in primary schools with hundreds of thousands of users and paying customers in ten countries. We are a recipient of the Department for Education's Edtech Innovation Fund to develop our formative assessment-based pupil tools. We propose to enhance our existing offering by adding a tool for teachers to undertake writing assessment judgements, and moderation online.

The current offline moderation process has some inefficiencies. Our innovation aims to save money, reduce teacher workload, reduce car miles driven and reduce CO2 emissions.

**The proposal and why it is innovative**

This proposal is business led, by a UK SME (Pobble Education Ltd), and the R&D will take place within the UK. We are collaborating with North Yorkshire Local Authority (NYLA) who have a responsibility for KS1 and KS2 statutory moderation processes across over 350 LA maintained primary schools and academies. They will measure and evaluate the direct impact of the innovation on their activities during the course of the project.

The proposal is innovative because it builds on our existing platform to bring the benefits of modern digital technologies to bear on a distinctly analogue, pre-digital process.

Achieving a solution for remote moderation provides an opportunity to support the annual statutory moderation process required by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) for end of Key Stage assessment. It also has the potential to create new markets for remote moderation services in schools across the UK and the world. This builds on the UK's reputation as a world leader in education and edtech.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Pobble Education Ltd £274,513 £ 174,508


North Yorkshire County Council £113,131 £ 83,717


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