Moderation with RM Compare - Making an Impact

Teacher sat helping some primary students

Looking beyond assessment as an accountability tool and changing the focus to one of impact is a key driver for our efforts. In this piece I am just going to take one example to illustrate the richness of the insight a properly constructed moderation session using RM Compare can return.


  • A MAT (multi-academy trust) comprised of 12 schools wants to understand the relative performance in writing of all Years 1 & 2. It wants to focus in on narrative writing.
  • All of the schools complete the same writing task under the same conditions. The works is all added to an RM Compare moderation session.
  • Once the work has been added, all of the teachers from the 12 schools judge the work


In the first chart we can see the relative performance of each school to the mean (the solid horizontal line) and to each other school. The box represents the performance of the middle bunch (50%) of the school cohort, while the whisker lines above and below show who the remaining 50% are (25% higher performers above the box, lower 25% performers below).

Let’s focus in on one school – the blue one. We can see that the school has a very wide spread of abilities. It has the least able performer (bottom of the whisker), but also has one the highest. The spread of the middle 50% is also wider than all of the other schools. 

So what?

Sounds obvious, but we can see just how diverse the school group is. This is going to challenge our strategic approach across the Trust and into individual schools. Some of the questions we will want to ask the ‘purple school’ include

  • How do your middle 50% perform compare to the other schools middle 50%?
  • What does the range of performance look like in your school?
  • Do you have long or short whiskers?
  • How does the range of performance in your school match that of other schools?

With this understanding we can now challenge the school to think more carefully about its teaching and learning approach

  • Which schools in the Trust are most like yours? How can you work together?
  • How do you allocate resource to make the most impact to all learners? How will this work across the spread of student abilities?
  • How might this information contribute to considerations around curriculum and teacher CPD?

What next?

We can dig deeper into the data if we want.

The second chart shows us the relative performance of all students across the Trust (there were 760 of them), and we can see how each individual student in the ‘blue school’ performed. As we noted earlier, we have quite a spread of abilities. We can also identify a number of ability clusters which might help us to think about our intervention approach.

We can, if we want, take a look at relative class performance, inter-year performance, or a variety of other metrics.