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Assessment in Education - EDU00010H

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kerry Knox
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

Assessment is a key part of the educational process. It provides feedback to learners on their attainment and progress, information on which teachers can base decisions about future action, and evidence relating to the effectiveness of courses and institutions. This module starts by looking at the range of purposes of assessment in educational settings. Key ideas and concepts relating to assessment and testing are then introduced and explored, for example: (i) How it is attempted to measure variables of educational interest and the reliability and validity of such measurements; and (ii) considerations of what to assess and how to report outcomes, in particular the advantages and disadvantages of norm-, criterion- and domain- referencing. These ideas are then used in exploring several current issues in educational assessment, for example: (i) The role of assessment in monitoring and raising ‘standards’; (ii) the potential of formative assessment for improving attainment; (iii) detecting and minimising bias in assessment; and (iv) the case for more ‘authentic’ assessments of performance.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

After completing the module, students will:

  • have a better understanding of key ideas and issues concerning educational assessment;

  • be able to identify and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various commonly used types of assessment instrument and approaches to assessment in educational contexts;

  • have a better understanding of current issues concerning educational assessment, and its contribution to the improvement of educational outcomes.

Academic and graduate skills

After completing the module, students will:

  • be able to locate and read with understanding a range of written sources;

  • be able to extract key points from articles, identifying arguments and the evidence which supports these, and comparing and contrasting different viewpoints and conclusions;

  • be able to communicate arguments orally and in and written form;

  • be able to record key points arising from discussions.

Module content

Indicative module content

Assessment in education – key ideas:
Session 1: Why assess in education?
Session 2: How do we assess? Methods and instruments; What do we assess?
Session 3: Key issues in assessment: Reliability, validity, and ‘backwash’ effect.
Session 4: Reporting the outcomes of assessment: Norm- and criterion-referencing.

Issues in educational assessment:
Session 5: Varieties of assessment practice: International comparisons.
Session 6: Teacher assessment.
Session 7: Formative assessment and ‘Assessment for Learning’.
Session 8: Workshop: Planning your assignment.
Session 9: The ‘standards’ debate.
Session 10: A ‘level playing field’? Are examinations and tests fair?
Session 11: Performance assessment: Assessing what students can do.
Session 12: Assessing affective outcomes.
Session 13: E-assessment: The future?


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3,000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3,000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Individual written feedback reports with follow-up tutor discussion if necessary. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Black, P. (1998). Testing: Friend or foe? Theory and practice of assessment and testing. London: Falmer Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.