MA Education: Learning, Pedagogy and Assessment


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Key facts

(Guardian University Guide 2019)

Key facts

(REF 2014)

Study the way people learn, the importance of the interactions between teaching and learning, and how we can, and should, assess a person’s progress.
This full-time Master’s course is ideally suited to anyone with experience in education, who wants to delve deeper into the processes, theories and practices at play in this fascinating field. Placing equal emphasis on theory and practice, it will build on your existing knowledge, interests and expertise, and help you apply the theoretical constructs to practice.

This course will give you an in-depth understanding of current key educational issues, debates, trends and policies, both nationally and internationally. It will develop your knowledge of educational research, and help you in conducting your own research project.

You will be part of UEA’s renowned School of Education and Lifelong Learning, and you will gain skills and knowledge that will prove invaluable in your career in education, or one of the many associated fields.


The MA Education: Learning, Pedagogy and Assessment is a one-year, full-time programme for anyone with an interest in education. Throughout your time with us we will help you achieve a critical, reflective and practical understanding of the current issues and debates surrounding teaching and learning, and familiarise you with the key educational trends and policies in the UK and internationally.

The course has a strong international dimension, which builds on its staff and students’ diverse interests, experiences and backgrounds.

This programme draws on a long-standing innovative research tradition within the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, and on our excellence in professional education. You will benefit from research-led teaching, and our team members bring with them skills and expertise at the cutting-edge of research, pedagogy and theory-informed practice.

You will be taught by leaders in the field, who research and contribute to national and international debates, so you can be sure that you will be learning in a stimulating environment.

What’s more, our academic environment and the resources available to you will help nurture your knowledge of and aptitude for educational research.

Course Structure

During your time with us you will be required to complete seven modules (180 credits). Of these, five are core taught and one is optional taught (each is worth 20 credits). Finally, you will complete a dissertation module (worth 60 credits).

More specifically, you will take three specialist compulsory modules on learning, pedagogy and assessment, as follows: 

  • Autumn semester: An Introduction to Key Concepts and Ideas in Educational Practices
  • Autumn semester: Pedagogies in Educational Contexts: Perspectives and Practices
  • Spring semester: Assessment: Principles, Issues and Practice

You will also take two generalist compulsory modules, covering educational research methods and critical reading:

  • Autumn semester: Critical reading
  • Autumn semester: Educational Research Methods

Your generalist modules are designed to provide you with sufficient grounding in the methodology of educational inquiry. This will enable you to begin to design and conduct research in your own specialist area of interest.

‘Critical Reading’ will concentrate on the development of your critical skills, particularly by allowing you to focus on educational policies. You will be assessed in this module through a critical policy review.

‘Educational Research Methods’ will provide you with a grounding in the methodology of educational inquiry, as well as equipping you with skills to design and conduct your own research. It will also offer an introduction to key research techniques and cover crucial aspects of qualitative inquiry..

Your sixth module will be your dissertation, which you’ll commence at the beginning of the Spring semester and submit at the end of the academic year. Usually – but not always – research-led, you will choose a dissertation topic based on your interests and professional background, with guidance from our team. You will then work with an individual supervisor to design, research and write up your project.

Finally, you will select and complete one optional module. Examples of the type of modules on offer include:

  • Key concepts and approaches to education leadership, management and policy
  • Leading teaching, improving learning and global education reform
  • Public Policy, Strategic Management and Complexity
  • Principles and Practice in Second Language Education
  • Language Learning in Context
  • Introducing Innovation and Change
  • Literacy, Development and Adult Learning: An Introduction to the Concepts
  • Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in Educational Research
  • Key Theories in Research into the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics
  • The Use Of Technology in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics
  • Educational Policy and Practice for Development
  • Introduction to Education for Development
  • Intercultural Communication in Practice

Teaching and Learning


You will experience a wide range of teaching and learning methods throughout the course. These include lectures, seminar sessions, tutorials, group discussions, practical workshops, group visits to key educational settings, student-led presentations, team-working and writing exercises.

You will be given guided reading before and during each module, and you will be expected to undertake preparatory reading ahead of your classroom sessions, as well as in relation to your coursework. And while some coursework will be completed individually, some may involve close collaboration and co-operation with members of your peer group.

Independent study

Guided, self-directed independent study is essential and will be supported by a range of resources, including a dedicated online portal. You will need to read extensively between taught sessions, and contribute your thoughts and ideas to the group discussion boards and blogs associated with many of the modules.


We utilise a range of assessment and feedback methods throughout the course, including assignments, student-led projects and small-scale research projects. In addition, you will need to complete and submit your 15,000 word Master’s dissertation.


After the course

Our graduates continue to develop their careers in a wide range of professional and academic destinations.

Many choose to work in education as teachers, managers or leaders, while others opt for further study at a research degree level. Other paths include working as a consultant in the private sector, or for a charity in the third sector.

Career destinations

  • Teachers and lecturers
  • Middle and senior educational leaders
  • Educational advisors, consultants and inspectors
  • Middle and senior officers in educational organisations
  • Social sciences researchers
  • The third sector

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.

Course Modules 2019/0

Students must study the following modules for 180 credits:

Name Code Credits


You may wonder why this module encourages you to explore some 'obvious' concepts and ideas such as 'learning'. Isn't it obvious what 'learning' is? Not if we take into account the fact that a google search yields millions of different answers to the question: 'What is learning?' Or that it is rather difficult to answer the question: 'How do we know that someone has learned something?' The meaning of 'learning' may not be as 'obvious' as we think. This module provides an introduction to key concepts and ideas about learning and teaching in compulsory, post-compulsory and lifelong learning that are often taken for granted as 'obvious'. You will explore how different theoretical perspectives on learning illuminate different aspects of learning and teaching interactions. You will examine these within the broader context of educational organisations and systems. The key concepts and ideas studied in this module include: 'learning'; 'cognition' and 'emotion'; learning and teaching as 'social interaction'; 'agency', 'structure' and 'culture'; 'education leadership' and 'education policy'. You will also explore how diverse approaches to learning and teaching offered by psychologists, sociologists, educational researchers and policy-makers influence everyday educational practice. The core approach to our module discussions will be based on challenging concepts and ideas that appear 'obvious' but, on closer examination, turn out to be problematic. In writing an assignment on a topic of your own choice, you will have an opportunity to challenge some of the 'obvious' ideas about your topic.




This module aims to introduce students to key ideas and concepts that underpin assessment philosophies, purposes and design in schools and universities. We will look at the history and functions of assessment and explore the different roles and types of assessment and problems and challenges. Against this backdrop we will then consider assessment design in relation to curricula and/or pedagogy.




What does it mean to be a 'critical' reader? Why is critical reading important? How can you develop your criticality, both as a reader and a writer? What is the single question that reminds us to take a critical stance when reading a range of published 'texts'? This module will support you in finding answers to these questions and, importantly, help you to become a capable, critical reader of a broad range of academic publications. You will explore techniques of criticality and learn how to apply them in practice, both in your reading and academic writing at Master's level. You will be able to discuss approaches to critical reading and practise them by reading and discussing a number of different published texts. Building on your knowledge of UK and international educational issues, this module will deepen your understanding of different documents, such as education policy texts, research reports, literature reviews, as well as newspaper articles and website publications. The interactive activities have been designed in this module in ways that will enhance your critical analysis. The end-of-module assignment focuses on a critical analysis of two academic journal articles, giving you an opportunity to demonstrate the critical skills and capabilities which you have developed in the taught sessions.




Working with an individual supervisor, the student is required to design, research and write up an inquiry-based project for a dissertation. With guidance from the course team, the student chooses a dissertation topic according to his/her individual interests and/or professional needs.




This module provides students with a grounding in the methodology of educational inquiry as well as with some preparation before they apply their own research skills. The module offers an introduction to some key research methodologies and covers crucial aspects of qualitative inquiry. A range of methodological approaches are explored, such as ethnography and case study, and various methods of collecting qualitative data are discussed (e.g. interviewing, doing observations). Students are equipped with some key skills that can help them design and conduct research in their own specialist areas of educational interest.




This module aims to give students the opportunity to explore and critically consider key issues about pedagogy. It discusses a wide array of ideas and theories that have influenced pedagogic thinking and practice, in various settings, formats and contexts. In particular, it engages with classical and contemporary accounts that have been put forward by as a diverse body thinkers as Plato, Confucius, Freire, Illich and contemporary social movements. Some of the topics we explore include the effect of information technology on leaning and thinking, the meaning and significance of critical pedagogy, the idea of deschooling society, the pedagogy of social movements as well as alternative ways of learning and teaching and enhancing pedagogic relations and interactions.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:


Name Code Credits


The aim of this module is to help you understand and critically examine, policy-making processes and specific policies for educational development. You will discover the relationships between policy and practice in a range of international, national and local development contexts. Through this module you will explore different approaches to policy development and familiarise yourself with dominant global policy agendas in education - asking who makes or influences policy, and considering policies as socially situated documents, practices and processes. The module introduces you to educational policy-making to address a range of development challenges and how related strategies are enacted in practice; drawing on policy theory and ethnographic and school-based research, as well as practical sessions to critique policy-related writing, examine models of educational quality and curricula, and explore issues of school-related gender based violence.




Do you wish to pursue a career in international management and relations, multilingual business, or international development? Are you interested in becoming a more effective communicator in other professions such as translation, interpreting, education, and cultural mediation? In this module we will explore the issues fundamental to intercultural communication (IC) in practical contexts. You will examine the different ways of thinking about effective communication in a variety of work/organisation-based environments. During the seminars/lecture series, invited practitioners will introduce you to how IC operates in specific organisations, including government agencies or in multilingual business management. On completion of this module, you will have developed the linguistic skills, cultural competence, and critical thinking required for the production of an extended research project in intercultural communication. You will also have acquired a sense of how cultural assumptions may influence communication with others from different backgrounds, and developed a greater willingness to enter into dialogue with the values prevalent in cultures other than your own.




Initiatives to improve the teaching of a second language are a feature of many government policies across the world, especially English Language Teaching, but not exclusively. Given that the formulation and introduction of new policy usually aims to improve student outcomes but can be costly, careful consideration needs to be given to what is likely to work and what not. This is exactly what this module will focus upon, aiming to prepare you to analyse those factors which can help to improve attempts to innovate and bring about successful change in second language teaching and learning. In this module, you will consider the principles of innovation and change at both system and the local levels through case study. You will have the opportunity to consider innovation and change through taking a critical look at teacher education, curriculum design, second language assessment, and the use of digital technologies within specific contexts in order to understand how these influence student outcomes. Your knowledge and understanding will be enhanced through a mixture of lecture input, seminars, group work, pair work, and self- directed study. Through studying the principles of innovation and change in second language education, you will be enabled to make judgements and arguments about how planning for second language education could proceed, in addition to evaluating the factors which are likely to influence successful change.




The content of this module complements and elaborates the 20-credit Research Methods in Education compulsory module of the full-time MA programme in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. It aims to you to elementary concepts and methods in statistical analysis and to help them make well-informed choices in their uses of appropriate methodological techniques and tools in their own research. The module is of relevance if you want to understand the way quantitative evidence is generated, analysed and interpreted and if you choose to collect quantitative data (e.g. through questionnaires) or use mixed methods (i.e. both qualitative and quantitative).




What does it mean to be an educational leader or manager? What is 'education policy' and how does it impact on what happens in schools, universities and other educational organisations? How do you envisage your own role and career progression as an education professional? To help you answer these questions, this module looks at developments within the fields of education leadership and management and education policy studies, focusing on key concepts such as: 'leaders-followers'; 'leadership-management'; 'policy', 'performance management', 'accountability', 'evaluation', 'equality' and 'diversity' in the workplace. You will have an opportunity to discuss key theories, models and ways of thinking about schools and other educational organisations and analyse practical issues arising from leading and managing for organisational improvement. The module will also provide you with an introduction to 'systems thinking' and the insights it offers for understanding schools and other complex organisations. The study of this module will enable you to reflect on your experience of leading (or working under the leadership of others) and gain experience in communicating your ideas clearly and effectively in seminars, interactive group activities, and written assignments. Assessment consists of critical reflection on your learning from the module and your professional experience to date. You will be able to evaluate your experience of working in educational settings in relation to 2-3 concepts studied in the module or, alternatively, discuss leadership approaches, principles or skills that you wish to develop in the future, based on the learning acquired in the module.




This module demonstrates the use of the theories introduced in the module Key theories in research into the teaching and learning of mathematics through a series of seminal studies into the teaching and learning of mathematics at primary, secondary and university levels.




Following a brief exploration of the foundations of mathematics education as a research discipline, this module covers key theories deployed in research into the teaching and learning of mathematics. Starting out from theorists with a huge influence on mathematics education research such as Piaget and Vygotsky, we introduce key theoretical constructs employed in research into the learning and teaching of mathematics. We cover developmental / cognitive, sociocultural, discursive and anthropological approaches.




What role does context play in determining how Second Language Education (SLE) takes place? Wider global, cultural, and educational trends affect what occurs in language classrooms as well as local factors - and these are the important issues that you will learn about in this module. This module covers a range of themes. You will examine concepts related to teacher and learner identities, the influence of critical theory, and intercultural understanding, competence and learning. Why do teachers teach the way they do? What influences their practice? What are the factors that they believe are important for effective second language teaching and learning? What effect does this have on learners? You will answers to these questions and develop your knowledge and understanding through a mixture of lecture input, seminars, group work, pair work, and self- directed study, so that you learn about SLE in action. All of this will support your evaluation skills and enable you to ask and answer critical questions about how SLE is influenced in different learning environments, from pre-school to university settings. You will have the opportunity to present your ideas and beliefs on the themes covered through discussion, debate, and oral, visual and written presentations throughout the module.




As governments in many countries across the world seek to transform their education systems, questions about leading teaching and improving learning are more important than ever. How do we know that our students are learning and making progress? What forms of knowledge are needed to improve teaching? Can we scale up local improvements or borrow policies from other countries to improve teaching and learning locally? This module enables you to investigate the relationship between approaches to improving learning 'locally' and the tendencies towards standardisation and complexity reduction characteristic of global education reform. You will consider improvement initiatives that are sensitive to the individual needs of children, young people or adults learning in diverse local contexts. Through a depth study of a specific 'local' issue, you will also have an opportunity to examine the complex nature of leadership initiatives and policies aimed at improving teaching and learning. The advantages and limitations of researching the 'local' and the 'particular' will be discussed in relation to knowledge gleaned from large-scale educational surveys and international comparisons. The end-of-module assignment will be a case study providing an in-depth analysis of an issue linked to leading teaching and improving learning in a 'local' context. The case study will be guided by 1-2 questions that focus on an analysis of the diverse 'actors', 'change agents', relationships and in/external contextual factors that impede or enhance teaching and learning.




Starting with the concept of literacy as a social practice, we draw on ethnographic research to unpack the relationship between literacy and international development. We will discuss current theories in adult learning and their relevance for policy, planning and practice in lifelong learning, as well as including an introduction to key debates and approaches in development theory.




Starting with theories of how children learn (or acquire) their first language, we look at research on second language learning and how this contributes to the development of principles and practices in second language education. We examine differences among learners and learning contexts and the implications for second language teaching. We then examine different approaches to teaching a second language in classrooms globally, including the communicative approach, immersion, the bilingual classroom and the post-methods approach, with its focus on teacher and learner strategies and goals.




Why are education managers increasingly focused on strategy design and implementation? What kinds of evidence should be taken into account in 'evidence-based' policy? How can education policymakers and managers become more effective in achieving their objectives? This module will enable you to develop an advanced understanding of the problematic nature of strategies for organisational improvement that rely on the 'delivery' of predetermined outcomes. You will have an opportunity to evaluate such strategies by drawing on ground-breaking insights into the nature of stability and change developed by complexity science. Complexity science offers an explanation of how change emerges from many local interactions of people engaging in everyday work and the pursuit of organisational goals, as well as personal agendas, power relations, rational and emotional responses to strategies, compliance and resistance. Because managers cannot completely control employees' responses, their strategies often produce unexpected or undesirable outcomes. By looking at a number of current education policies as 'case studies' to evaluate, you will also have an opportunity to explore the complexities of policy interventions in a range of international contexts. The assessment for this module comprises two elements: an oral presentation and a practical project report.




Whereas studies up to the mid-2000s had assumed that ICT has a one-way impact on literacy development via 'interventions', the understanding now is that language learning and new technologies develop alongside each other in a reciprocal co-evolutionary way. Teaching with IT has also developed pedagogically, with the use of electronic networks and resources, largely to complement traditional face-to-face approaches. This module looks specifically at the use of new technologies in second language learning, and also at how English, as a world language, has an extra dimension of influence and impact on local and national communities via the easy access to it on mobile phones and via other media.




This module introduces seminal studies in the use of technology in the teaching and learning of a range of mathematical topics such as: # Number and Arithmetic, mainly at primary level; # Algebra and Geometry, mainly at secondary level; # Calculus and Linear Algebra, mainly at university level; # Mathematical Reasoning and Proof across educational levels; and, # Mathematical Notation, Language and Representations across educational levels. Issues of teacher knowledge, beliefs and teacher education in relation to the use of technology are addressed across levels.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Social Science (E.g. Education, Sociology, International Development, Philosophy, Psychology, Modern Languages, Classics)
  • Degree Classification UK 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements Relevant teaching experience desirable

Entry Requirement

Applicants should normally have a good undergrauate degree from a recognised higher education institution. The University will also take into account the employment experience of applicants where relevant and applications are actively encouraged from those who want to return to academic study.

It is normal for undergraduate students to apply for entry to postgraduate programmes in their final year of study. Applicants who have not yet been awarded a degree may be offered a place conditional on their attaining a particular class of degree.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 50 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850 (full time)
  • International Students: £16,400 (full time)

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515