MSc in Educational Assessment | University of Oxford
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A row of books
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MSc in Educational Assessment

About the course

This professional development course is aimed at researchers and professionals in the field of educational assessment. It aims to deepen knowledge, understanding and expertise in the chosen specialist topic.

This new two-year part-time MSc course has been introduced at a time when professionals are required to have a deeper understanding of and confidence to utilise various assessment approaches.

The aim of the course is to provide researchers and professionals with the skills to enhance and develop their knowledge in a specialist topic such as international large-scale assessments, advanced analysis techniques or teacher assessment. Students will study the history, contemporary issues and development of the disciplinary field, gain technical and statistical knowledge in assessment and engage with the design and evaluation of educational assessments.

The course combines a number of teaching sessions within the department and online support through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (WebLearn). In the second year of the course students will receive supervision of dissertation projects from a University supervisor with expertise in a particular subject.  

Assessment will be through an assignment for each unit, plus a dissertation in the final term of the second year.  Areas covered in the assessments include:

  • assessment issues and practice
  • assessment design and statistical evaluation of assessment data
  • assessment analysis
  • teacher assessment
  • international large-scale assessments
  • advanced analysis techniques.

Graduate destinations

This new course is intended to improve assessment skills and to provide students with a wider education in this critical field than they would encounter in their working career or with other universities.  

On completion of the course, graduates will have a sound understanding of the design of assessment systems, the options available and their implications.  They will be able to analyse the quality of assessments and engage in research, policy and practice questions in an informed and critical manner.

This MSc qualification will have an impact upon the quality of educational assessments in a wide range of settings by enhancing assessment skills and increasing opportunities for progression to senior positions in educational assessment organisations both nationally and internationally.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2018-19

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in any relevant subject area.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Applicants meeting the selection criteria are interviewed by an admissions panel which include experts in the subject. Applicants will be notified of the opportunity to attend interview as soon as their application has been reviewed. 

The interviews are normally held in person, however, there will be opportunity to attend interview via Skype.  The admissions panel will assess the applicant's suitability for the course, covering professional experience and their desire to contribute to the field of assessment in terms of research or practice.

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Evidence of your employer's support is required.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Department of Education to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. 
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Education.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

As the MSc is a part-time course for researchers and professionals, the department takes pride in providing high quality IT support for your learning when you are away from Oxford. This includes a dedicated WebLearn site, which you will use to liaise with your supervisor and to exchange ideas with other students. If you wish to work in the department when you are visiting Oxford, there is a computer room with desks which also has points for personal laptop computers. 

The Oxford University Department of Education (OUDE) has been making a major contribution to the field of education for over 100 years and the department has a world class reputation for research, for teacher education and for its master's and doctoral programmes. OUDE combines international standing as a research-intensive department with the highest quality teaching.
In the 2014 evaluation of research quality in UK universities, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), OUDE was the top-ranked Department of Education in the UK. The department has ESRC recognition for its graduate training, and its teacher training was rated ‘outstanding’ by the Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED) in its most recent inspection in 2011.

Research in the department is organised around three major themes:

  • Language, cognition and development
  • Economy, policy and society
  • Knowledge, pedagogy and design

Within each of these themes there are several research groups and centres. All staff and doctoral students belong to one or more of these research groups, each of which has its own seminar programme to which graduate students often contribute. In addition, the department as a whole sponsors regular seminars and public lectures which attract distinguished national and international speakers.

The Bodleian Education Library, located at the centre of the Department of Education, specialises in material on education and related fields. As well as a print collection of books, journals and statistics, the library provides access to a wide range of electronic resources. The library also houses a collection of teaching resources, primarily in support of subjects covered by the department's secondary PGCE course. The Social Sciences Library provides valuable additional resource to students pursuing programmes in the Department of Education.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

A number of Research Council awards are available each year from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2018-19

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£4,488£1,556£6,044
Overseas£8,638£1,556£10,194

Tuition and college fees are payable for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees). Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

Please note that this course requires that you attend in Oxford for teaching, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Further, as part of your course requirements, you will need to choose a dissertation topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2018-19 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,015 and £1,555 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Educational Assessment:

How to apply

You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose:
One to two pages

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas of the course that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • evidence of understanding of the proposed area of study
  • professional experience of educational assessment
  • your ability to present a coherent case in proficient English
  • your commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • your preliminary knowledge of the subject area and research techniques
  • your capacity for sustained and intense work
  • reasoning ability
  • ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace
  • evidence of your ability to undertake part-time study.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation and interest in the course and subject area, and ability to work effectively in a group and independently. 

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