Publications & Resources

"How Does My Teacher Know What I Know?": Third Graders’ Perceptions of Math, Reading, and Assessment

Feb 1995

Kathryn H. Davinroy, Carribeth L. Bliem, and Vicky Mayfield

Regardless of the type of assessment used in the classroom, students continue to have the same traditional understandings of assessment suggests a new CRESST study. “…students believe that assessment activities are often aimed at measuring their handwriting, punctuation, [and] expression when reading out loud,” say researchers Kathryn Davinroy, Carribeth Bliem, and Vicky Mayfield, in a new CRESST report. The third-grade students involved in the study had been exposed to performance assessments in reading and mathematics for over a year, yet their concepts of assessment did not shift significantly. The authors found that this limited framework applied to multiple topics. When asked what does a math test look like, for example, students still referenced the timed math-fact test. “It has a hundred problems on it,” said one student, “and you have to get as many problems as you can down in five minutes.” Since students are typically the last to be exposed to changes in assessment, the data tend to confirm that students attitudes towards assessment may also be the last to change. “Our findings,” conclude the authors, “about student perceptions, regarding reading, mathematics, and assessment support contentions that reform takes time if perceptions and understandings are going to change significantly.”

Davinroy, K. H., Bliem, C. L., & Mayfield, V. (1995). How does my teacher know what I know?: Third graders’ perceptions of math, reading, and assessment (CSE Report 395). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).