Assessment in Practice

Assessment in Practice

Internal Standardisation

The three schools involved in this project recorded how they carried out the internal standardisation of Communication.

This included how long internal standardisation meetings lasted and how they planned and prepared for them.

Schools Experience

Time Invested

The three schools invested between three and eight hours over a number of sessions in the school year as part of the internal standardisation process. One of the schools had two additional inset days for their Year 4 and Year 7 teachers, who worked with the assessment co-ordinator. Another school clustered with four other primary schools once they had internally standardised their own levels.


All three schools reported that teachers taught the planned lessons and then levelled the pieces of work, using the Levels of Progression for Communication. Each school focused on one mode, either Reading or Writing.

For example, one of the schools asked their teachers to teach and level a class-based Reading activity and a CCEA Reading Task that they could slot into their planning. The teachers in this school used the online exemplification library to gather teaching ideas.

Another school, again focusing on one mode, asked their teachers to:

  • teach one activity;
  • level it using the Levels of Progression for Communication; and
  • bring three pupil responses, showing the range of pupil ability in a class, to an internal standardisation meeting.

The teachers also brought an overview sheet, stating the prior teaching and learning and the overall level awarded for the assessed activities. The teachers knew what to do before all internal standardisation meetings, as the assessment co-ordinator or communication co-ordinator, or both, had circulated memos.


The internal standardisation meetings involved all staff. At first, staff tended to work together in the Key Stage they teach. As the schools taking part in this project were medium to large, they then worked in groups across the Key Stages. One school reported that deciding where one level ended and the next one began was challenging.

Options for Meetings

  • All schools focused on either Reading or Writing.
  • Teachers from one school brought to a meeting three pupil responses to a CCEA Writing Task, reflecting the ability range in each of their classes.
  • Another school provided the levels at the first internal standardisation meeting so that the teachers were only confirming an assessed judgement. At the next meeting, only the assessment co-ordinator knew the levels awarded. The teachers moderated the level of each piece of work, using the Levels of Progression for Communication.
  • Some schools attached overview sheets/task detail sheets to the pieces of work.
  • One school asked teachers to teach and then level a classroom-based writing activity and a CCEA Writing Task.

Outcomes of Meetings

  • Teachers gained a better understanding of the Levels of Progression for Communication and were therefore better equipped to level classroom work.
  • One school produced an internal standardisation folder so that it could share all internal levels with teachers.
  • Another school clustered with four other primary schools to share their levels externally.
  • Some teachers produced a record sheet to use in their classrooms. They manually recorded the title of the assessed activities and their levelled outcomes throughout the school year.

Helpful Hints

  • Focus on only one mode at a time.
  • If you are starting with Writing, focus on one genre.
  • As internal standardisation takes time, you may wish to deliver it through PRSD.
  • Try to make time to use the CCEA online exemplification library to set the standard before internal standardisation meetings. You can also use it to gather planning ideas.
  • Prepare for the meeting by giving teachers as much guidance as possible about the expected outcome, for example the consistency of standards across the school.
  • Select CCEA Assessment Tasks that best fit into your planning.
  • If you are internally standardising reading activities, include the text with the pupil responses that you intend to submit or bring a copy of the text to the meeting.
  • Record the prior teaching and learning of the activity and the awarded level on a simple template. You could do this at whole school level.
  • At the first meeting, record the level that each teacher awarded for all teachers to see. This meeting will aim to confirm each teacher’s level. At a second meeting, perhaps using another mode, do not record the level on the piece of work.

Teachers will then have to:

  • award and record a level for the work; and
  • give a reason for their choice of level, using only the relevant criteria from the Levels of Progression for Communication.
  • Collate the standardised pieces of work into a shared folder that reflects the school’s standard. You may wish to add CCEA exemplification into this folder to benchmark the standard, for example CCEA online examples of exemplification or training materials.
  • One school produced a centrally located school noticeboard to display pupil work across the levels. This promoted using the levels as a way to measure pupil progression in the school.