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Unit information: Quality and Improvement in Education in 2015/16

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Unit name Quality and Improvement in Education
Unit code EDUCM5917
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mrs. Elisabeth Lazarus
Open unit status Not open

Introduction to Educational Inquiry



School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit is designed for those interested in designing, managing and delivering quality education in all fields. It will review research and experience relating to effectiveness and improvement in educational settings and consider the implications for policy and practice. It will focus on research into the organisational factors that correlate with effective outcomes in both developed and developing countries and consider strategies for promoting quality and improvement at local, national and organisational level. Students will be invited to present case studies based on their experience and critically reflect on the usefulness of the theoretical and conceptual ideas discussed.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • evaluate critically the theoretical and research evidence concerning education quality, and the characteristics of ‘effective’ educational organisations in an international context;
  • review critically the strengths, weaknesses and feasibility of various education improvement strategies at institutional, local, national and global levels;
  • consider how the ideas, evidence and methods raised in the unit might be applied in their own institutional context;
  • reflect critically on their own experience as a practitioner in relation to the issues discussed in the unit.

Teaching Information

Given the nature of the programme, teaching is organised into an intensive 3-day event during which there are a combination of teaching strategies, which may include whole group lectures, visiting speakers, case studies, critical analysis of key readings, group discussions and student presentations.

The needs of a wide range of students, including those with disabilities, international students and those from ethnic minority backgrounds have been considered. It is not anticipated that the teaching and assessment methods used will cause disadvantage to any person taking the unit. The Graduate School of Education is happy to address individual support requests as necessary

Assessment Information

Summative assessment for the unit will be on the basis of a 4,000 word assignment which will assess students’ critical understanding of the literature and their ability to apply the concepts and theories explored to their own professional practice.

Reading and References

Harber, C. and Davies, L. (1997) School Management and Effectiveness in Developing Countries: the post bureaucratic school, London: Cassell

Harris, A., Bennett, N. and Preedy, M. (eds) (1997) Organisational Effectiveness and Improvement in Education, Buckingham: Open University Press

Macbeath, J. and Mortimore, P. (2001) Improving School Effectiveness, Buckingham: Open University Press

Scheerens, J. Glas, C. Thomas, S. (2003) Education Evaluation, Assessment and Monitoring: A systematic approach, Lisse, the Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger

Slee, R., Weiner, G. and Tomlinson, S. (1998) School Effectiveness for Whom? Challenges to the School Effectiveness and School Improvement Movements, London: Falmer Press

Teddlie, C. and Reynolds, D. (2000) The International Handbook of School Effectiveness Research, London: Falmer Press