New Zealand education students' conceptions of assessment and academic performance

Gavin Thomas Lumsden BROWN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Education students’ conceptions of assessment are critical components of their thinking about and practice of assessment. Students enrolled in a 2nd-year course on classroom assessment responded to the Teachers’ Conceptions of Assessment Abridged (TCoA-IIIA) inventory. Five major conceptions (i.e., assessment improves student learning and teaching; assessment is ignored and is inaccurate, assessment is bad, assessment measures school quality validly, and assessment grades students) were found in the responses of 324 students. Students more than moderately agreed that assessment improves student learning and teaching and that assessment grades students. This pattern of mean agreement (i.e., highest for improvement and student grading, lowest for assessment is bad) was consistent with results from previous studies with New Zealand and Queensland practicing teachers. A structural equation model found that one conception of assessment predicted total grade for the course. The conception assessment grades students predicted course grade negatively (â=-.23) and explained a small proportion of grade variance (SMC=.05). This result contradicted previous studies which showed that students who agree assessment grades students perform substantially better on tests of mathematics and reading. The discrepancy may best be explained by the differences in the nature of academic performance measures. Course grades are composites of course-work assignments and one-off tests or examinations; such mixture may weaken the relations previously reported. The study indicates a strong need to develop conceptions of assessment measures more focused on the context of education students and to further examine relationships to different types of academic performance measures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Brown, G. T. L. (2009, August). New Zealand education students’ conceptions of assessment and academic performance. In G. Brown (Chair), Perceptions and conceptions of assessment in the classroom: Different national perspectives. Symposium conducted at the 13th Biennial Conference: EARLI 2009: Fostering Communities of Learners, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


  • Assessment methods
  • Initial teacher education (Pre service)
  • Teacher thinking


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