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Assessment literacy and efficacy: Making valid educational decisions

Mary Lou Chapman, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of the study was to gather information from practicing teachers about their knowledge and use of assessment in the classroom, referred to as assessment literacy; their confidence to effectively assess student progress and make valid educational decisions, referred to as assessment efficacy; and their beliefs about the consequences of these decisions. A two-part survey was administered to general and special education teachers in selected schools in western Massachusetts: an assessment literacy questionnaire to determine knowledge of assessment principles, and an assessment efficacy scale to determine confidence in using assessment results. The second part of the study was an interview of a sample of teachers about the consequences of educational decisions that are made using assessment data. The participants were mostly general education teachers at the secondary level, with graduate degrees, and prior training in assessment; and were almost equally divided by years of experience. They perceived themselves to be somewhat prepared to very prepared to teach and assess student performance; but less than two-thirds of the teachers responded correctly to 70% of the items on the adapted assessment literacy questionnaire. The participants generally perceived themselves to be confident in their skills to make appropriate educational decisions, thus possessing a high level of assessment efficacy. The responses from the interviews indicated that the teachers perceived that the decisions they make from classroom-based, school- and district-wide assessments had valid and meaningful outcomes when they were correct, and implemented appropriately. Their responses indicated concern about the unintended consequences of decisions that are made from the statewide assessment.

Subject Area

Educational tests & measurements|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Chapman, Mary Lou, "Assessment literacy and efficacy: Making valid educational decisions" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3325124.