Postgraduate taught 

Educational Studies MSc

Fundamentals of Formal Education EDUC51076

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Students of education require knowledge and a critical understanding of the centrality and fundamental nature of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment and the purposes, complexities and contestation around this established triad. This course seeks to provide an introductory overview of perspectives around learning and pedagogy, curriculum and assessment theory. The course draws upon a selection of perspectives and examples of policy and practice present across the International Standard Classification of Education.


This is a taught course, normally based on two lectures each week that draws on expertise from across the School of Education. The course is supported by a carefully selected range of online resources, selected readings, and self-assessment exercises.

Excluded Courses

Students on a programme undertaking initial teacher education, or qualified teachers such as on the MEd Educational Studies, should be excluded from this course.




This course is assessed through a mid-semester in-class exam (25% weighting) and an end of course written assignment (75% weighting).

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with an introduction and overview of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment as fundamental aspects of formal education. An advanced understanding of the field of education requires a qualified familiarity with this triad of overlapping areas of theory and practice and their ubiquity in contemporary formal education and education policy reform. Perspectives on learning and its relation to pedagogy and assessment are explored drawing from a range of levels across formal education. The course explores the nature of the curriculum and its relation to pedagogy and assessment.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to: 


1. Demonstrate a broad and balanced knowledge and understanding of pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment, and their ubiquity in contemporary formal education and education policy reform.

2. Begin to synthesize the cultural, political, and historical contexts within which curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment have become established as indispensable elements of theory and practice within formal education systems.

3. Demonstrate a balanced knowledge and understanding of assessment and pedagogy and key paradigms in learning theory and their articulation with approches to pedagogy.

4. Evaluate approches to the curriculum by drawing upon curriculum theory and other influences such as policy ambitions, moral, religious, and philosophical thought.

5. Demonstrate a balanced knowledge and understanding of assessment and its significance in relation to dimensions such as learning, selection, issues of social justice and system quality and accountability.

6. Develop and present forms of analysis and or reasoned argument in relation to the evolving and contested points of intersection within theory, practice, and policy across pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.