Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module EDUC44630: Standardised Tests and Exams (Distance Learning)

Department: Education

EDUC44630: Standardised Tests and Exams (Distance Learning)

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


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module should enable students to:
  • Critically understand key issues related to assessment in education
  • Construct, conduct, interpret, evaluate and report assessment tests in the frame of classic and modern 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 using classical and modern test theory
  • 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:
  • 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 classical and modern 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, spread sheets 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

  • The module is delivered using a range of teaching and learning methods in a set of discrete Study Units. The units enable the learning outcomes to be achieved through a combination of specially written material, directed reading, reflection through self-and teachers assessed exercises, and guidance for further reading. Extensive use of learning technologies is employed to reinforce learning, including blogs, discussion boards, wikis, video streaming and podcasts. Teachers/module tutors provide feedback on formative work and are available for individual consultation as necessary (by email, telephone, post, fax and video-conferencing).
  • The summative assessment will take the form of a practical assignment where student design and trial a 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 of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Online Lectures 16 0.5 8
Seminars, exercises and practical activities 16 1 16
Self-guided learning and fieldwork experience 276
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical assignment 5000 words 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