Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module EDUC42330: Standardised Tests and Exams

Department: Education

EDUC42330: Standardised Tests and Exams

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Critically understand key issues related to assessment in education.
  • Construct, conduct, interpret, evaluate and report assessment tests in the frame of classic test theory.


  • Introduction to assessment in education.
  • Theories and rationales guiding assessment.
  • Constructing and analysing written assessment.
  • Descriptive statistics.
  • Using statistical software.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • Describe and criticise the aims and purposes of assessment in education.
  • Explain and discuss the evolution of assessment as a field, its roles in education today and its stakeholders and organisations.
  • Explain and criticise the fundamental concepts and rationales in classical test theory and descriptive statistics.
  • Outline and problematise the nature and roles of standards and frameworks in assessment.
  • Create and validate a test construction.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • Critically analyse and examine issues in educational assessment using assessment theory.
  • Construct, conduct and analyse written tests by use of procedures and criteria established within classics test theory.
  • Use statistical software in descriptive analysis and item analysis.
  • Report descriptive statistics and item analysis.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • Critically analyse and present arguments, using theoretical sources and empirical evidence.
  • Use computer and information technology (including internet and email use, word processing, spreadsheets and statistical software).
  • Participate in and reflect on collaborative group/team work.
  • Communicate ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • An intensive programme of lectures, seminars (including group work), practical tasks, tutorials and self-guided learning. Lectures will give up-to-date knowledge of educational assessment and help structure students’ own study and learning towards the learning objectives. Seminars will facilitate a more in-depth student engagement with themes and issues raised in the lectures. They will include practical activities and skills training. Seminars will also be linked to relevant field work experience, either conducting assessment in learning institutions/assessment agencies or working with data from one of these. The format of lectures and in particular seminar exercises will enable students to critically discuss assessment issues. Assessment will take the form of a practical assignment; students will be given data and produce a report on item analysis. This will provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate the extent to which they have understood and are able to engage critically with the themes and issues covered under the learning outcomes of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 hour 10
Seminars, practical activities 10 2 hours 20
Self-guided learning and fieldwork experience 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Practical Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical Assignment 5000 words/ 1 week (this includes the practical data sets etc) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive feedback to compulsory seminar tasks.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University