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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(3), 1162-1182.
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"They show how smart you are": A mixed methods study of primary students' perceptions of assessment tasks

Gerald Wurf
Monash University, Australia

Rachel Povey
Charles Sturt University, Australia

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.
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Authors: Gerald Wurf joined Monash University in 2017 as a senior lecturer in educational psychology. Prior to this, he worked in teacher education at Charles Sturt University. He has also taught in Hong Kong. Gerald is currently Chair Elect of the APS College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists.
Email: gerald.wurf@monash.edu

Rachel Povey is an early career classroom educator. She currently teaches in a range of educational settings in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions of New South Wales. In 2015, after completing research focusing on student perceptions of assessment, Rachel was awarded her Bachelor of Education (Primary) (Honours) degree.
Email: rachel.povey2@det.nsw.edu.au

Please cite as: Wurf, G. & Povey, R. (2020). "They show how smart you are": A mixed methods study of primary students' perceptions of assessment tasks. Issues in Educational Research, 30(3), 1162-1182. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/wurf.pdf

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Created 24 Sep 2020. Last correction: 24 Sep 2020.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]