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EDU8031 : Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment as foundations of teaching and learning

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. David Leat
  • Lecturer: Dr Alison Whelan
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Mixed Location

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To provoke debate about the aims of education and encourage a more questioning and critical stance on curriculum, pedagogy, learning and assessment.
To introduce a broad range of understandings of learning and associated pedagogies, and their epistemological assumptions.
To understand the available models of curriculum planning and curriculum questions.
To apply case study methods and analytical tools to an innovation in curriculum/ unit of curriculum.
To understand socio-cultural and political influences on curriculum and pedagogy and to use an understanding of these factors in analysing contemporary curriculum change – such factors would include history, marketisation, performativity and surveillance and how they affect curriculum innovation.
To analyse the differences between curriculum as framed, curriculum as written, curriculum as taught and curriculum as experienced.

Outline Of Syllabus

General: Since the inception of the National Curriculum in England, there has been an increasing level of prescription in curriculum and pedagogy. This reflects a wider international phenomenon of state control of education dominated by exams and metrics. Curriculum can become largely a matter of delivering and testing government definitions of important subject knowledge with little consideration of the wider purposes of education.

This module goes back to basics and looks at very broad understandings of learning and curriculum, which stand in contrast to the narrow view of learning enacted by most curricula worldwide. It considers what forms of ‘teaching’ and curricula are needed to achieve a broad range of outcomes and how they can be planned. It also investigates why learning outcomes often fall short of ambitious curricular aims, in particular through the shortcomings of pedagogy and professional development. The ideas and concepts offered in the module are applied in the module assignment through a case study analysis of a curriculum innovation (successful or otherwise).

1. Definitions and understandings of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment and how a few schools and teachers are doing them differently
2. Models of curriculum planning and students’ own experience of curriculum in their formal education
3. The range of learning outcomes in formal education, competences and the place of knowledge in the curriculum
4. Global trends in educational policy and practice, including marketisation and neo-liberalism
5. Analytical frameworks for curriculum
6. Innovative pedagogies and curriculum – thinking skills, inquiry, project-based learning, Opening Minds competences)
7. The barriers to curriculum innovation – Rolling the Stone Uphill
8. Assessment (diagnostic, formative, summative and evaluative) and its effects on learning
9. Curriculum and social justice
10. Case study methods

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials113:0013:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion158:0058:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities19:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading118:0018:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities71:007:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching10:300:30PIP
Guided Independent StudySkills practice11:301:30N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00PIP and SOL
Guided Independent StudySkills practice41:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:005:00PIP and SOL
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops130:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity16:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00SOL
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity14:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study136:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk41:004:00PIP and SOL
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The student body is very mixed FT & PT, home and international, early 20s and then 30+s, practitioners and new graduates. They benefit from talk and sharing knowledge and experience and gaining a synoptic view of curriculum. The scheduled teaching activities focus on main concepts and analytical frames that are used in a case study assignment focusing on curriculum innovation, successful or not. Students are formed into study groups and these groups are used for collaborative work inside and outside face-to-face teaching.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M1004000 words – students are given considerable guidance on structure and analysis
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Participants will:

• Apply knowledge of curriculum planning models and analytical frames to a case study of curriculum innovation of their choice;
• Analyse the relative success/failure of the innovation in terms of both professional support systems and sociocultural/political factors;
• Enhance their capacity to undertake curriculum innovation successfully;
• Understand global trends in educational policy and practice.

Reading Lists