Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module EDUC40160: Dissertation

Department: Education

EDUC40160: Dissertation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.


  • Standardised Tests and Exams, Classroom Assessment, Judgement-based Assessment and Research into and Using Assessments.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Enable students to research a topic or issue of professional interest or relevance through the use of appropriate research strategies.
  • Develop students’ knowledge and understanding in a particular area, areas or themes in assessment.


  • The focus of the dissertation will be decided in consultation between the student, the module convenor and the supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module students should have:
  • Demonstrated the use of research methodology relevant to research in educational assessment.
  • Address the issues of reliability and validity when assessing or producing assessments.
  • Developed a specific assessment topic of the student’s own choice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of module students should be able to:
  • Identify research questions related to assessment and address these questions using appropriate research methodologies and theories.
  • Work independently and in communication with a tutor on a research project.
  • Reflect on and critique assessment practices and theories in discussions and with use of research findings.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of module students should be able to:
  • Undertake an independent study, research and problem solving.
  • 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).
  • Communicate ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Access library resources and search for research literature.
  • Manage time.

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

  • The dissertation is an independent piece of work with guidance from a supervisor and support material in the Study Guide. A workshop will be held at the opening of the module to inform and prepare for the work. On submission of a dissertation proposal pro-forma the student will be assigned a dissertation supervisor, who will approve the student’s research topic and problem. The student will meet frequently (approx 5 times) with the supervisor and discuss the progression of the work.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials As Required 9
Support through workshops 1 3 hours 3
Self-guided learning 588
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 15000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students are given regular feedback from the supervisor on the progress of the dissertation through tutorial discussions and the presentation of draft material.

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