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Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Studies: Educational Assessment

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Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Educational Studies: Educational Assessment

In association with Cambridge Assessment

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 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 2021-January 2022 10
Unit 2 Option A - Assessment design and evaluation January 2022-May 2022 12
Unit 2 Option B - Assessment for learning January 2022-May 2022 12
Unit 3 - Issues and debates in assessment September 2022-November 2022 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

Open Day 

Our open day usually takes place in November. For information about the 2021 open day please check this site nearer the time. 


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

This is a blended learning course. There are three methods of teaching for each of the course Units.

Online learning

Each Unit for 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.

Day schools

The course has four Day Schools that are hosted at the Faculty of Education. We expect students to attend these in Cambridge, but all other learning can be achieved flexibly from the student’s home or place of work.

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. The provisional dates for the 21/22 academic year are below. 

Day Month Year
Friday 01 October 2021
Saturday 02 October 2021
Saturday 05 February 2022
Saturday 03 September 2022

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 from the online part of the course, 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. 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.

International Students

This course is open to applicants from outside of the UK. If you require visa sponsorship in order to attend this course please see our visa webpage for further details

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 2021/22 entry the course fee will be £4700 (Home) and £9900 (Overseas including EU). 

How to apply

Please fill in an application form and email to Applications should be submitted no later than 24 June 2021. Please note we are unable to accept applications after the application deadline.

Any course queries should be directed to