“They show how smart you are”: A mixed methods study of primary students’ perceptions of assessment tasks

Gerald Wurf, Rachel Povey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Across the developed world high stakes assessment is routinely used in primary schools and it is essential educators consider how students perceive assessment. This study used a sequential mixed methods design, incorporating the Student Perceptions of Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ), to examine the perceptions of 82, year five and six students in three Australian primary schools. Significant negative correlations were obtained between students’ self-efficacy and assessment transparency, congruence with planned learning, and authenticity. Paradoxically, students who had the highest levels of self-efficacy had the least confidence in their knowledge of assessment. Boys obtained significantly higher scores when rating assessment congruency and transparency. Focus group data from 13 students highlighted themes related to intrinsic motivation, affirmation of ability/achievement levels, conformity to expectations, and support/feedback for learning. To improve assessment in the primary years it is recommended that educators use authentic tasks and explicitly discuss the purpose of assessment with their students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1162-1182
Number of pages21
JournalIssues in Educational Research
Volume30
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2020

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