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Unit information: Quality and Improvement in Education in 2021/22

Unit name Quality and Improvement in Education
Unit code EDUCM5207
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Sands
Open unit status Not open




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, delivering and evaluating 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 and other factors that correlate with effective outcomes, comparing across different cultural and country contexts, and strategies for promoting quality and improvement at local, national and organisational level. Research employing a range of qualitative and quantitative methods for quality assurance and evaluation (eg intervention/programme evaluation, case studies, inspection frameworks, league tables, value added approaches) will be considered.

The broad aim of this unit is to review selected research and theory relating to quality, effectiveness and improvement in education and to consider the implications for policy and practice in different countries/cultures and different school/college contexts.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. evaluate critically the theoretical and research evidence concerning education quality, and the characteristics of ‘effective’ educational organisations in an international or UK context;
  2. critically review the strengths, weaknesses and feasibility of various education improvement strategies and how educational quality is evaluated at institutional, local, national and global levels;
  3. consider how the ideas, evidence and methods raised in the unit might be applied in participants own institutional context;
  4. reflect critically on participants’ own experience as a practitioner in relation to the issues discussed in the unit;
  5. independently source, manage and critically engage with a range of texts related to quality and improvement in education, including through use of digital and web-based tools; and
  6. build and clearly articulate orally and in a written assignment a coherent and convincing argument relating to one specific aspect or example of quality and improvement in education.

Teaching Information

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including seminars, lectures, reading and discussions.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: a 1000-word assignment in the form of a piece of reflective writing. Students are asked to consider what educational quality and improvement mean in their specific context/institution and/or own professional experience.

Summative assessment - a 3,000 word assignment which will assess students' critical understanding of the literature on quality, improvement and effectiveness, and their ability to discuss the implications of the theories and concepts in relation to their own professional practice. (ILOs 1-6)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUCM5207).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.