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EDU8031 : Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment as Foundations of Teaching and Learning

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor David Leat
  • Lecturer: Dr Alison Whelan
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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 understand the available models of curriculum planning and their underpinning ideologies and epistemologies.
To understand a range of analytical tools for curriculum and apply them to a range of contexts.
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 national history, neo-liberalism, surveillance & accountability, employability and well-being, and how they affect curriculum development.
To understand the building blocks of curriculum planning (facts, concepts, cognitive skills, experiences, character, attitudes/beliefs etc.) and how they are mobilised in different curriculum formulations.
To learn the main purposes of assessment and how these they are deployed.
To learn the main trends of curriculum policy in students’ respective home countries.
To analyse the differences between curriculum as framed, curriculum as written, curriculum as taught and curriculum as experienced.

Outline Of Syllabus

: In the last 50 years wider there has been increasing state control of education usually with a prescribed curriculum dominated by exams and metrics (performativity) with increased accountability. However there are periodic outbursts of enthusiasm for curriculum, pedagogy and assessment that are more aligned with wider purposes of education, such as personal development and social justice
This module goes back to fundamentals and investigates a broad range of understandings of learning and curriculum, and the ideologies and models of planning on which they are based. The module carefully introduces six analytical frameworks (e.g. curriculum questions and sites of curriculum making) through which curricula, at any scale, can be interrogated. The sessions also outline the main building blocks of any curriculum (facts, concepts, cognitive skills, experiences, character, attitudes/beliefs etc.) and explores how they are mobilised in contrasting curricula. Attention is paid to efforts at curriculum change and why such reform often falls short of stated aims, in particular through the shortcomings of pedagogy and professional development. The varying purposes and methods of assessment are detailed and the module investigates the benefits and unintended negative consequences of different modes of assessment. Some of the emerging problems of curriculum in many countries, such as engagement, well-being and transition to HE and employment are outlined. Particular country focus is given to UK home countries and the Pacific rim, most notably China (as the great majority of students are from China). However, some attention is given to the all the home countries represented in the student cohort. The assignment invites students to analyse contrasting curriculum in two different schools (exemplar schools are provided but students may make their own choice).
Where possible use is made of students’ own experience as both learners in school and university/college and as teachers (where appropriate).

1. Definitions and understandings of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment
2. Different models of curriculum planning, their building blocks, associated ideologies and students’ own experience of curriculum in their formal education
3. The range of learning outcomes in formal education, including 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 – Curriculum Purposes, Convergent and Divergent Curriculum and Assessment, Curriculum Questions, Range of Learning Outcomes, Sites of Curriculum Making,
6. Attempts at curriculum change and the causes of relative success and failure
7. Some emerging issues in curriculum - powerful knowledge, coherence, engagement, well-being, progression to FE/HE and employment, models of teacher education
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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Can use given example cases or chose own contrasting cases for comparison (have to be agreed with module leader)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture62:0012:00Broken up with some Vevox, small group discussion and instructions
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities42:008:00Presenting to and listening to group members after individual reading assignments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading610:0060:0010 hours on each of 6 analytical frameworks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00For more personal interaction
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities140:0040:002 x country case studies reading, England and China
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities41:004:00Watching specific videos on curricula in particular institutions and analysing critically
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion61:006:00Writing specific group reflections, reading those of other groups and responding
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:303:00To answer questions about assignment in 2 weeks before deadline (will also respond to emails)
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity14:004:00Using all module materials to complete module summary
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The student body has changed radically in recent years and is now predominantly Chinese (100% in 23-24) many without teaching experience, with the consequence that they don't have a depth of professional knowledge to draw upon and much less can be taken for granted. More time and attention is given to making sure that fundamentals are understood.

The group size is also larger than previously, 50-60, making whole class discussion impractical. Therefore 5 practices are used in varying combination:
Careful instruction using PP and underpinned by well planned explaining (examples, analogies, linked points etc);
Individual and group preparation and follow up (elements of blended learning);
Small (study) group work in class in which 'instructed' knowledge is interrogated and applied whether through cases or personal experience (groups are organised and ongoing);
Vevox activities to get feedback, relate content to personal experience, express views etc.
The use of short film clips.

There are plans for 1 seminar in groups of c.12 (3 study groups) to get to know students a little better and check understanding and questions.

Therefore in relation to Learning Outcomes the emphasis is on careful teaching of fundamental knowledge about curriculum and its underpinnings and its application to cases and personal experience to ensure understanding. The emphasis on study groups helps develop the understanding of the value of learning with and through others.

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 selection of contrasting cases and how to analyse as cases - provides useful preparation for dissertation
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