Pictures of assessment: Conceptions of assessment as drawn by students

Lois Ruth HARRIS, Gavin Thomas Lumsden BROWN, Jennifer A. HARNETT

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Investigating student conceptions of assessment is important because students' thinking mediates their learning and achievement. This paper reports data from eight focus groups of students in year levels 5-10. Students were asked to draw a picture of assessment and analysis of their drawings is reported in this paper. Content analysis was used and Cohen's Kappa was utilised as the measure of inter-rater reliability. These analyses were then triangulated with students' written and oral descriptions of their drawings and the subsequent focus group discussions. Student drawings revealed three major themes relating to students' conceptions of assessment. First, the majority of students drew test or test-like practices, although in focus group discussion they reported that they experienced a much wider range of practices within their classroom. Second, the majority students drew pictures reflecting a negative view of assessment. Third, students drew assessment as an independent and isolated process with little support from teachers and without assistance from other students. While these drawings may not directly match students' lived experiences, they provide insight into how students view assessment and can be usefully triangulated with other qualitative and quantitative data to understand student conceptions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Harris, L. R., Brown, G. T. L., & Harnett, J. (2009, August). Pictures of assessment: Conceptions of assessment as drawn by students. In R. Bromme (Chair), Student perspectives on assessment: How knowledge, self-efficacy, and feedback impact performance. Symposium conducted at the 13th Biennial Conference: EARLI 2009: Fostering Communities of Learners, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


  • Assessment methods
  • Beliefs
  • Emotion


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