SAC: Moderation and Grades Guidelines

The Moderation and Grades form is reviewed and approved by the School Assessment Committee (SAC). This page provides information how the committee member carries out their role.


As a member of a School Assessment Committee, you can watch a workshop recording from 2021 that takes you through the different forms, purposes and reports.

Watch recording


The School Assessment Committee oversees assessment activities in the school and approves the grades of all subjects taught within the school (School Assessment Committee – Membership and terms of reference). Part of the oversight is to ensure the school complies with external regulatory requirements such as the Higher Education Standards (HES).

Guidelines for how School Assessment Committee should review and approve the Quality Assurance and Reflection (QUASAR) forms

Where there are two school assessment committees (SACs), the first SAC will approve the Moderation and Grade (M&G) forms. The second will approve the Reflection and Planning (R&P) forms. Any late forms go to the next meeting (in particular the second SAC will also approve some late M&G forms). Where there is only one, both forms get reviewed at the same meeting.

If you have any questions, please ask Michael Kemp (product owner) or Sheeja Samuel (trainer)

Guidelines for approving and minuting Moderation and Grades (M&G) forms

See video (approx 10 min) for an audio-visual demonstration of these guidelines. If you do not know much about the form, then you can also watch (first) the short video about the whole form (approx 25 min, the first 15min for the convenor, the next 5 min for moderators and the last 5 min for SAC role).

  1. Convenors and moderators will be asked to complete the M&G form when they submit their grades. The official due date (given in the system) is 12 days before the start of the following session. For example, for 201930, the due date is 3rd July. This is 12 days before the start of 201960. Equivalently, the due date is one week before the Faculty Assessment Committee and so 1-5 days before the School Assessment Committee. Although at this time, convenors must sign that their grades are true and correct and will not be changed, grades can be changed on the recommendation of a discipline group or the SAC. Therefore, this statement can be made prior to submission to SAC or discipline group meetings.
  2. Anybody with the roles: SAC Member, Head of School or Administrator can run the Grade Readiness Report. Running this report (for a given school & session) shows the progress of all M&G forms. The information is useful before, during and after the SAC meeting. The data can be viewed on screen (use the search feature to find a subject quickly) or downloaded as a CSV file for more detailed filtering or sorting. A quick description of the data. Each row corresponds to an offering, but they are grouped by subject and much of the information applies to the subject as a whole. The leftmost columns are the subject information (intake termcode [useful for multi-session subjects], code, name, offering, people involved). After that is the response given to Q3 about marks adjusted. The next two columns called ‘Convenor Ready date’ and ‘moderator ready date’ show the dates when the subject declaration boxes were ticked for that offering. If both dates are present, then the convenor and moderator think the grades for that offering are ready to be approved and transferred. The next column is called ‘STATUS’. The options are blank (not started), CONVENOR, MODERATOR (respectively the convenor, moderator need to complete and submit the form), SAC (the state needed for SAC to review) and APPROVED (what everything should be at the end). The next three columns refer to information from the Whole Cohort TA section. These explain which subjects are outstanding and when they will be resolved. Information here is used in the minutes. The last two columns store the notes. These notes form the minutes in SAC for the review of these forms.
  3. The school allocates SAC members to subjects (the allocation is determined by the school).
  4. BEFORE SAC, each member goes to the Grade Readiness Report to view the assigned subjects. Use the search filter to find the subjects you are after. Clicking on the subject code will open up the form in a new tab. You will know the form is ready if it has a coloured chip labelled SAC on the left of the floating bar.

    You can alternatively use the landing page,  to view the subjects. The status is listed on the landing page. Press the action button next to the SAC chip to view the form.] If the convenor will be late they should have completed the ‘whole cohort TA’ and the conversion date will tell you when you should expect the form to be ready.

  5. In order to review, read the responses to the questions. For the grade distributions response, it is sometimes useful to evaluate the comments by comparing them to previous years. To do this, look at the Reflection and Planning form and select ‘Grade History’ in the data dashboard. [If you need to look at individual grades, you need to go to the interact 2 Grade Centre or ask for a spreadsheet download.] [Note: for the Grades Distributions table, merged cohorts will be combined into one row and labelled as per the parent site.]
  6. Use the “Add note ..” buttons. To indicate if issues are present or if all is OK.

    6a. For any issues that involve the moderation and/or grades for this session use the ‘Add Note to M&G’. In particular, any issues that require immediate fixing or are concerned with the Moderation and Grades form should be entered here. Make it clear if grades should be approved despite the issue or if the grades need to be held up until the issue is resolved. Once created the note appears at the top of the form.

    Issue: No evidence moderation has occurred.
    Response: HOS to investigate and ensure moderation occurs before grades are transferred.

    Issue: Q1 (moderation process) was not filled in according to school policy. The option missing is “Sample assessments at borderline grades (e.g. high credit/low distinction)”
    Response: Return to the convenor. HOS will make sure this happened and the convenor will then tick the box and resubmit.

    Issue: Typo in Q4 makes the response appear opposite to Q2b.
    Response: Return to the moderator to fix. Recommend grades are approved anyway.

    6b. For any issues that cannot be fixed now but can be resolved or at least considered in the future, use the “Add Note to R&P’. Once created, the note appears at the top of the Reflection and Planning form. So responses can either request the convenor reflect on a certain aspect and write the response to the reflection question (Q2 on the reflection and planning form) OR request the convenor create an action item OR both.

    Issue: The rubric for assignment 1 is ambiguous
    Response: Convenor to add an action item to fix the rubric for the 201960 session.

    Issue: Low progression was noted
    Response: Subject team to reflect on the progression rate and create some action items to improve progression in future sessions.

    6c. If there are no problems, use “Add Note to M&G” and type “Recommend form is approved.” This helps make it clear what to do in the meeting itself.

    6d. At times you may also like to use these notes to capture any other discussion SAC had about the subject.
  7. The notes that are created can be modified or deleted at any time before the form is approved. The notes are visible on the forms to everyone who has access. Also, the minutes of SAC will be generated from the approved version of these notes. Thus keep them formal. Also, use the “Issue” and “Response” format of the examples above to make the minutes clear. Remember to give enough context, since others will read the notes without being able to see the answers on the form.
  8. DURING the meeting: the committee goes through all subjects that are ready using the pre-entered notes to speed up the meeting. Each subject has one of the three actions below. Any tricky cases can be discussed as a group. Also, the notes can be edited before action if needed. In the report press the ‘Refresh’ button to update with values just entered in. (It is advisable to nominate one person present in the meeting with sufficient access to drive the system. They can edit the notes and press the buttons below, but they must do so at the direction of the committee.) SAC can additionally add longer-term action items into QUASAR via the Reflection and Planning form.

    8a. Approve: if moderation and grades are acceptable then press the APPROVE button. You may still want to leave notes to encourage future reflection and planning.

    8b. Return to Convenor: if something is not right, the form can be sent back to the convenor to address. Make sure a note is added to explain what to do. The form will also have to be approved by a moderator before SAC again. Thus it is important that the note is clear to everyone. An email is sent to the convenor/moderator automatically.

    8c. Return to Moderator: if something needs changing in the moderator questions, you can send it back to the moderator. Make sure a note is added. An email is sent to the moderator automatically.
  9. Also during the meeting look at the list of subjects that have requested an extension via the Whole Cohort TA. In particular, the committee should review the proposed reason and conversion dates. If these need changing, the convenor will need to be notified.If a subject has some cohorts ready but not all of them, SAC can agree to approve the grades of those cohorts ready.
  10. AFTER the meeting: The secretary to the SAC uses the Form Progress Report and Grade Readiness Report to create the minutes. The former gives an overview of all forms. The latter is used to explain any cohorts with a ‘whole cohort TA’.

    10a. The grade sign off officers can then use the Grade Readiness Report to determine which cohorts can be transferred (TA expected column = no).

    10b. Any subjects that were not approved in the first SAC can be considered at the second meeting. This includes subjects that were late as well as subjects that needed to be returned to the convenor or moderator. Use a similar process to the above.

Important comments

  • Grades can be transferred even if the moderation and grades form is not approved. For example, if only some cohorts are ready, but not all. Another example: the form is returned to the convenor/moderator to correct an answer, but it is clear that grades are correct and can be transferred.
  • SAC can change grades after the form is submitted.
  • Any discussions about subjects that should be minuted should be FIRST recorded in QUASAR’s notes as described above. The minutes will then be generated from the notes.
  • All forms need to be moved to the APPROVED stage (once all are fixed). Compliance with this will be checked by the governance structures.