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Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Educational Studies: Educational Assessment

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Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Educational Studies: Educational Assessment

In association with Cambridge Assessment Network

Course overview

This course will lead to a Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Educational Studies. It is a 15-month, part-time practice-based course in educational assessment. The course is a collaboration between the Faculty of Education and Cambridge Assessment Network and is valuable to anyone who uses assessment as part of their professional life, for example teachers, awarding organisation staff, Higher Education practitioners and members of professional bodies.

The course is worth 90 credits at Masters level. Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible to apply to the second year of the Masters of Education (MEd) at the Faculty of Education.

As a course participant, you will develop an in-depth understanding of assessment in a supportive academic environment, and benefit from working on small-scale enquiries that are relevant to your own professional practice. You will also learn from other students, and build networks from beyond your specialist areas of expertise.

Each student takes three units in total. Units 1 and 3 are taken by all students. Unit 2 offers a choice for students, depending on their particular professional interest. Students will select their optional unit during the application process.

A summary of the units is provided in the table below:

Unit title Unit period Teaching weeks
Unit 1 - Principles of Assessment October 2024-January 2025 10
Unit 2 Option A - Assessment design and evaluation January 2025-May 2025 12
Unit 2 Option B - Assessment for learning January 2025-May 2025 12
Unit 3 - Issues and debates in assessment September 2025-November 2025   10

Educational Aims

As a course participant you will develop:

  • An in-depth understanding of key concepts and issues within the field of educational assessment
  • A critical and reflective approach to academic enquiry on issues of educational assessment
  • The ability to link collected data and theoretical perspectives in assessment in order to make new insights
  • Understanding and skills related to research methods, including critical awareness of methodological issues, ethical principles and data collection methods
  • The ability to evaluate the impact of research enquiry on your own professional context
  • Skills in planning, organisation and academic writing


Each student is allocated a supervisor for each unit assignment. Supervisors provide support for each stage of the assignment writing process. They give guidance on developing an effective assignment title, offer feedback on draft versions of assignments, and provide written feedback on submitted work. Students will have the chance of meeting their supervisor in person at one of the Day Schools. Supervision is generally provided remotely.

Teaching Methods

Each unit of the course has weekly materials and activities to support students in their learning. Each unit has a dedicated Unit Tutor, who provides guidance for students in how to get the most out of the course materials and activities. The Unit Tutor facilitates forum discussions through the virtual learning environment (VLE). For some weeks of the course students will also be supported by a Research Methods Tutor.

Each unit will have one Day School which will take place early on in the unit, with the exception of Unit 1, which will have two consecutive Day School days. Please note the dates for the 24/25 academic year below are provisional and may be subject to change and some day schools may run in-person. 

Day Date Year 
Friday 4 October   2024
Saturday 5 October     2024
Saturday 8 February 2025
Saturday 6 September 2025

The day schools are an enriching learning experience where students are able to hear from, and debate with, academics in the educational assessment field. Students also engage in small group activities to build on their learning and receive support and guidance related to their assignments.

Course teaching is led by a teaching team of staff from the Faculty of Education and Cambridge Assessment Network. The team is led by Dr Ayesha Ahmed .

Assessment Methods

Assessment comprises three 4000-word assignments, one for each unit.

Unit Assessment Details

Unit 1

4000 word assignment A critical review of the literature regarding a validity issue that is relevant to the professional context of the student (3500 words), plus a critical reflection of their learning from Unit 1 (notional 500 words).
Unit 2 4000 word assignment A report of a small-scale research enquiry. The enquiry undertaken will focus on an issue of professional or personal interest related to the course content and is informed by the student’s study of research methods.
Unit 3 4000 word assignment An enquiry based essay related to an issue or debate in assessment of professional interest to the student.


For each unit written feedback on assignment drafts and final submissions is provided by the supervisor.

Entry Requirements

As part of their application prospective students should evidence that they:

  • Have relevant experience of working in an educational or related professional setting
  • Demonstrate a reflective and enquiring approach to their work which supports improvement in professional practice and/or policy
  • Demonstrate the ability to work independently and collaboratively with the support of Faculty supervision.
  • Demonstrate a willingness and ability to engage with academic and professional literature that will support empirical and/or literature-based enquiry into policy and/or practice

Please read the guide to PPD entry qualifications.

Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

Credits gained from other institutions are not accepted to gain accelerated entry to the PPD programme, although these credits can be considered as part of an applicant’s entry qualifications to support the application, if considered relevant.


For 2024/25 entry the course fee will be £5,200 (Home) and £11,130 (Overseas including EU). 

How to apply

Please apply via the PPD application portal. If you have any difficulties with the portal or have any questions, please email

The deadline for applications for 2024 entry is 10 July 2024. Applications are considered to be complete only when we have received all application documents, including both references and supporting documentation. If applications are incomplete by the application deadline, it may not be possible to consider them.

Any course queries should be directed to