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X9K009 Educational Assessment MSc Postgraduate Taught 2015


UCAS code X9K009
Degree MSc
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) or 3 years (part-time)
Start Date 06-10-2015
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 8316

Course Content


The MSc in Educational Assessment has been developed to meet the need for specialists in educational assessment within schools and more widely within the education system. The programme combines the expertise of two leading institutions in assessment, the School of Education and CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring). Students learn to construct and use tests, classroom assessments, interviews, school inspections and more. The programme is 'hands on'; candidates learn about the theory of assessment and the challenges associated with assessment, but there is also a strong focus on providing training into the conducting of assessment. Completion of the programme will enable you to apply for the status of Fellow with the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors (CIEA).

The programme aims to produce specialists who are well equipped to work in assessment within many areas of education. We want these specialists to have good knowledge and skills and be well prepared for the tasks they undertake. Specifically, the programme aims:

  • To develop knowledge and awareness of the importance and many roles of assessment in education, and to enable students to engage with debate and to reflect on how to meet the challenges of effective educational assessment;
  • To equip students with knowledge, understanding and relevant skills that will help them develop, deliver and analyse assessment at all levels of education, and to facilitate further research and scholarship in this important field.

Lectures take place 5pm-8pm on one evening per week (part-time) and two evenings per week (full-time), making the programme suitable for those who are in full-time employment.

Course structure

The programme comprises four x 30 credit taught modules plus a 60 credit dissertation of up to 15,000 words.

On a part time basis, students study two modules per year in both year one year two and the dissertation in year three.

On a full-time basis, students study all modules and the dissertation within one year.

Core Modules

  • Standardised Tests and Exams
  • Classroom Assessment
  • Judgement-based Assessment
  • Research Methods in Education
  • Dissertation.

Learning and Teaching

Four 30 UCU taught modules are each designed to take 300 hours of student work, comprising:

  • Readings and preparation for teaching;
  • Teaching time;
  • Follow-up readings and tasks outside the taught element;
  • Independent study;
  • Assignment work.

There are 30 hours of contact teaching time per module (3 hours a week for ten weeks) with the remainder distributed through the other elements of the module.

In addition the supervised dissertation module offers one to one contact time - students are assigned individual supervisors from within the School of Education/CEM staff who assist with devising a suitable topic for study.

The aim of the academic tutorial system is to provide academic advice and support to students during the teaching and assessment of a module.

Academic support for the student is available via all of the following forms of contact:

  • Formal tutorials within teaching time.
  • Email and telephone: Students are encouraged to contact tutors with specific queries.
  • Group emails: The discussion board on DUO, the virtual learning environment, allows students to keep in touch with peers and staff to raise issues and get generic feedback.
  • Personal contact: Staff are available for individual consultation during office time.

All students are also strongly encouraged to attend research seminars at the School of Education throughout the academic year, when they will meet other students working on research degrees by thesis at Ph.D, Ed.D. or Masters level. Details of such sessions are available on the departmental website

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

A good honours degree at 2:1 (or equivalent). Significant relevant experience will also be considered.

English Language requirements

IELTS score of at least 7.0 (with no element under 6.5) or equivalent.

Requirements and Admissions

The University accepts the following alternative English language tests and scores.

Fees and Funding

Fees shown are for one year. Total fee will depend on the length of your programme. All fees are subject to annual increases. For more information please visit the Tuition Fees page

EU student fees


Home student fees


Islands student fees


International non-EU student fees


Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

School of Education

Career opportunities in education are wide and include classroom teaching, educational leadership and management, administration and policy development.

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please view our department web pages

Open days and visits

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits

Department Information

School of Education


The School has a lively postgraduate environment capitalising on the academic strengths and diversity of its large body of teaching and research staff, and its population of around 1,100 students.

We offer a range of high-quality postgraduate provision to suit our students' needs. Many of our courses are designed to offer optimum flexibility through their mode of delivery, whether through part-time teaching at evenings/weekends to suit those engaged in full-time employment, or through part-time International Summer Postgraduate Institutes (ISPIs) which are delivered through a combination of intensive summer school teaching and independent study. Our postgraduate provision offers training and development for the teaching profession as well as programmes for those interested in education as an academic discipline in its own right.

We regularly secure top ten placements in UK university league tables such as The Times Good University Guide and The Complete University Guide, and are delighted to have been graded 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in April 2013 for all aspects of our initial teacher training.


Teaching Staff

Dr Jonathan Tummons, Lecturer; MSc in Educational Assessment Pathway Leader

Prof Rob J Coe

Robert Coe is a Professor in the School of Education and Director of Secondary Projects in the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University. He has overall responsibility for CEM's work with secondary schools and colleges, including the ALIS, Yellis and MidYIS projects which support thousands of schools in monitoring their own performance. 
Before embarking on an academic career, Robert Coe was a teacher of mathematics, with experience in a range of secondary schools and colleges. He left teaching in 1995 to study full-time for a PhD at Durham University, and then stayed on as a Research Associate and Lecturer. His research interests are wide-ranging and include evaluation methodology; Evidence-Based Education and the involvement of practitioners in research; school effectiveness and improvement, including the methodology of school effectiveness research; the use and effects of feedback, especially in performance monitoring information systems; and the statistical comparability of examinations in different subjects and over time.

Prof Peter Tymms

After taking a degree from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences Peter Tymms taught in a wide variety of schools from Central Africa to the north-east of England before starting an academic career.

He was "Lecturer in Performance Indicators" at Moray House, Edinburgh before moving to Newcastle University and then to Durham University where he is presently Professor of Education.

He is on the Expert Board of the European Science Foundation and is an adviser to the German NEPS project.

His main research interests include monitoring, assessment, performance indicators, ADHD, reading and research methodology. He devised the PIPS project, which is designed to monitor the affective and cognitive progress of children through primary schools starting with a computer adaptive on-entry baseline assessment. Peter Tymms was Director of the CEM Centre until 2011 when he took over as Head of Department and Chair of the Board of Studies in the School of Education.

NB: Information contained on the website or in the literature with respect to the fee is correct at the time of publication but the University reserves the right to change the course information or fee at a later date.

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