Ecological rationality in teachers' conceptions of assessment across samples from Cyprus and New Zealand

Gavin Thomas Lumsden BROWN, Michalis P. MICHAELIDES

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Teacher conceptions of assessment are influential mediators of how assessment policy initiatives are implemented in schools. Four hierarchical, intercorrelated factors (i.e., assessment for improvement, school accountability, and student accountability, and assessment as irrelevant) of how teachers' conceive of assessment have been reported. However, most studies have been conducted only in English in jurisdictions with policies of low-stakes testing. This paper extends the research by surveying 249 Greek-Cypriot teachers with a Greek translation of the Teachers' Conceptions of Assessment inventory. Cyprus has a relatively low-stakes assessment policy during the compulsory school years, suggesting, under the assumption of ecological rationality, that conceptions would be similar to previous English-language studies. Exploratory factor analysis of the Cyprus data led to a five-factor solution with 24 items within two inversely correlated second-order factors (i.e., assessment is positive and negative; r = −0.49). A multigroup nested invariance confirmatory factor analysis found statistical invariance between the Cyprus and the New Zealand data. Mean score differences were small for two improvement-oriented conceptions, moderate for assessment that is bad, and large for school accountability and ignoring assessment factors. Similarities and differences in conceptions appear to reflect commonalities and discrepancies in educational system policies and practices. Copyright © 2010 Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Science+Business Media BV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-337
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011



Brown, G. T. L., & Michaelides, M. P. (2011). Ecological rationality in teachers' conceptions of assessment across samples from Cyprus and New Zealand. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 26(3), 319-337.


  • Teacher beliefs
  • Educational assessment
  • Survey research
  • Cross-cultural comparison
  • Cyprus
  • New Zealand