Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module EDUC42430: Classroom Assessment

Department: Education

EDUC42430: Classroom Assessment

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.


  • Standardised tests and exams.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Develop skills and understanding related to assessment within the classroom context for summative and formative purposes.
  • Develop and an understanding of how modern test theory has changed assessment practice.
  • Establish the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out assessment in the new rationale.


  • Assessment for learning, including formative and diagnostic assessment.
  • The development from classic to modern test theory.
  • Applying modern (probabilistic) test theory in test construction.
  • Use of statistical software based on modern (probabilistic) test theory.
  • Validity in assessment.
  • Psychology of assessment.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the aims and purposes of formative assessment.
  • Engage in the debate about the “efficiency” of this assessment.
  • Explain and discuss the basic principles and ideas underpinning Item Response Theory (IRT) and Rasch Theory, and how these ideas contrast classical test theory.
  • Explain and criticise changes to the concept of validity from its first establishment in assessment and educational testing.
  • Describe and explain the impact of motivation and anxiety on test performance.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • Devise and use classroom-based assessment for formative and summative purposes.
  • Construct and analyse written tests in accordance with procedures and criteria established within modern (probabilistic) test theory.
  • Use statistical software and principles in descriptive analysis and item analysis (based on modern test theory).
  • 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, relevant field work experience 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 field work, 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 theoretical assignment (students present analysis of a given problem by use of literature) and a written exam (test). 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.

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: Assignment Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 3000 words 100%
Component: Exam Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exam (test) 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive feedback to compulsory seminar tasks. Students will produce preliminary summary and outline of the assignment, with additional critical bibliography to indicate reading undertaken, and receive feedback to this.

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