Coordinator: Lingling Xu Tel: +44 1782 7 34867
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

This module teaches students how to make valid and socially instructive comparisons of educational policy and practice across a range of national contexts, including Britain, the United States, China and so on. Students will compare and contrast national and regional approaches to governance, stakeholder roles and responsibilities, competition, and the tension between striving to maintain standards and being inclusive. They will explore how and why countries 'borrow' educational policy or practice from each other. Students will learn to describe significant differences and similarities between different countries, using a range of sources including statistics, policy documents, personal experience and themed discussion, explaining and accounting for educational difference effectively in both written and presentation formats.

1. To enable students to understand and explain the differences in educational policy and practice across the US and Britain, as well as selected other countries, in terms of governance, roles and responsibilities, and in terms of balances between the imperatives of competition, striving to maintain standards and being inclusive.
2. To introduce differences between the countries as a central framework for such comparison.
3 To enable students to develop comparative analysis skills using a range of sources including research, statistics, policy documents and personal experience/accounts and themed discussion.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Compare and contrast between various education systems, including the British, US and Chinese models.: 1,2
Use a range of sources including statistics, research, NGO reports, policy documents, personal accounts and experiences, and discursive or themed analyses of educational policy and practice to produce such descriptions and analyses.: 1,2
Evaluate key aspects of their own education system/experience through placing it in a wider context.: 1
Illustrate how roles and responsibilities among educational stakeholders vary across the countries and regions according to history, and to political and economic priorities.: 2
Explain how standards and inclusion are conceived differently across countries and regions, and how they interact to direct policy.: 2
Illustrate ways that educational borrowing and convergence occurs across countries, and some of the unintended outcomes of this.: 2
Ask theoretically productive questions of other education systems on the basis of critical reflection on their own.: 1,2
┐Work collaboratively with people from other countries to find out how and why educational experiences differ, and relate these different experiences to broad policy and theoretical discussion.: 1

Study hours

11 1-hour lectures
11 1-hour seminars
1 hours individual tutorial time
30 hours group work on project and presentation
60 hours essay preparation and writing
17 hours KLE discussion and guided study
20 hours private study

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Group Presentation weighted 20%
Group presentation of group project undertaken through the module
The cross-national groups (consisting of students with experience of more than one educational background) will inquire through their combined experience into educational difference in terms of one of the module themes. They will augment their pooled reflections with available statistics, policy documents and themed readings. They will present their analyses, findings and materials drawn on in Week 11. The feedback received from the class will help to inform their essay writing. The marks will be awarded on an individual basis, based on their presentation performance and their 250-word summary, in which each student will detail their contribution and key arguments. The group presentation allows students to develop their capacity for collaborative learning, and to facilitate meaningful educational comparison from personal experience. Each group will have 15 minutes for their presentation.

2: Essay weighted 80%
Summative essay from a choice of 6 questions
A 3,000 word essay answering one of 6 policy-related questions.