Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: English Language Centre


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.
Tied to Q3K207
Tied to Q3K307


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • At the end of the module, students will:
  • design a comprehensive syllabus that reflects the pedagogical needs in a particular context;
  • critically evaluate the merits of various syllabus types;
  • have a full working knowledge of principles of assessment;
  • design effective assessment instruments;
  • assess through evaluation the merits of different language teaching programmes.


  • The aim of this module is to introduce students to the principles underlying syllabus design in applied language studies. A critical appraisal of current debates about how linguistic, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic research should inform language teaching syllabus design. Students are responsible for the formulation and implementation of a current approach in the creation of specimen materials. Additionally, the module will explore issues in assessment and evaluation in language teaching. After their mastery pf different language assessment procedures, students will implement them such that they reflect different views of language, while remaining consistent with the goals and objectives of language teaching expressed by the syllabus.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of methods of enquiry appropriate to issues in assessment , including concepts of validity and reliability in language test design.
  • Understanding of various existing approaches to language programme evaluation.
  • Knowledge of categories in modern syntactic, morphological and phonological theory.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to design a comprehensive syllabus addressing the needs of a specific teaching environment.
  • Ability to implement a needs assessment tool to guide syllabus design.
  • Mastery of the analytical skills used to evaluate an existing syllabus.
  • Ability to implement an effective assessment tool, appropriate for a target pedagogical context.
Key Skills:
  • Ability to read and understand primary texts in syllabus design and assessment.
  • Ability to respond appropriately to a given pedagogical context.

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

  • Lectures will introduce principles underlying syllabus design. The lectures will also introduce key approaches relevant to effective student assessment and language programme evaluation. As a result, the students will have a good command of relevant theoretical background and be able to apply this knowledge to syllabus design and programme evaluation.
  • Tutorials will provide students with the chance to analyse and critically evaluate existing syllabi. They will also provide the support needed for students to design their own syllabi, as well as providing support in the design and implementation of assessment and evaluation tools.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly during Terms 1 and 2 1 hour 20
Tutorials 5 Biweekly during Term 2 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 125
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Syllabus Design Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Syllabus with Rationale 2,000 words or equivalent 100%
Component: Assessment/Evaluation Tool Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assessment Tool with Rationale 2,000 words or equivalent 100%

Formative Assessment:

Presentation, draft syllabus and draft assessment test.

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