U.S. teachers' conceptions of the purposes of assessment

Nicole Barnes, Helenrose Fives, Charity M. Dacey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Teachers' conceptions about assessment influence their classroom assessment practices. In this investigation, we examined 179 K-12 teachers' conceptions of the purposes of assessment from a person-centered perspective. An exploratory factor analysis of teachers' responses to the Conceptions of Assessment Instrument yielded a three-factor model: assessment as valid for accountability, improves teaching and learning, and as irrelevant. Next, we used cluster analysis to identify belief profiles of teacher groups: Cluster-1: Moderate, Cluster-2: Irrelevant, Cluster-3: Teaching and Learning. Within and across cluster comparisons revealed significant differences indicating that these are distinct profiles: teachers can, and do, hold multiple beliefs about assessment simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Classroom assessment
  • Conceptions of assessment
  • Practicing teachers
  • Teacher's beliefs


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