Personal accountability versus excuse-making: The impact of secondary students' conceptions of assessment on academic performance mediated by self-effcacy and interest

K. Frank WALTON, Gavin Thomas Lumsden BROWN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

This study confirms and extends the findings of Brown and colleagues related to the impact of secondary students’ conceptions of assessment on academic performance. One of their data sets (SCoA II) was reanalysed, including 15 previously unanalysed survey items on students’ conceptions of assessment and six survey items on students’ attitudes to reading. Analysis of the two SCoA II forms (Form 1, N=1774; Form 2, N=1623) via exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, identified six conceptions of assessment. The resulting measurement models had acceptable fit with the sample data as did the structural models which linked the conceptions of assessment to students’ asTTle reading scores. Reading performance was positively predicted by one conception (‘assessment makes me accountable’) and negatively predicted by the other five conceptions (‘assessment makes schools accountable’, ‘assessment is helpful and enjoyable’, ‘assessment informs me’, assessment is unfair and frustrating’, ‘assessment is useless and worthless’). Analysis of the self-motivational attitudes data produced two factors, self-efficacy and personal interest, both of which predicted small to medium positive effects on reading performance. In order to explore the mediating effects of subject specific self-motivational attitudes on the predictive relationship between conceptions of assessment and reading achievement, multi-group invariance analysis was used. This analysis revealed that the high (top third) self-efficacy and interest groups were statistically different to the low (bottom third) self-efficacy and interest groups in their structural relations to reading achievement. It was concluded that subject motivational attitudes interact with conceptions of assessment to have a significantly differing effects on academic achievement. For students with high self-efficacy and interest, increased personal responsibility towards assessment predicts improved performance. For students with low self-efficacy and interest, increased personal responsibility towards assessment has a powerful positive effect on academic performance. These results have important implications for pedagogical practice around students’ subject specific selfefficacy and interest, and their self-regulatory attitudes towards assessment. Copyright © 2009 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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responsibility
performance
student
self-efficacy
interest group
structural model
academic achievement
school

Citation

Walton, K. F., & Brown, G. T. L. (2009, August). Personal accountability versus excuse-making: The impact of secondary students' conceptions of assessment on academic performance mediated by self-effcacy and interest. Paper presented at the 13th Biennial Conference: EARLI 2009: Fostering Communities of Learners, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.