Relationship between understanding and practices about assessment among elementary school mathematics teachers in Karachi

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Professional Development Centre, Karachi


Assessment enables teachers to assess students' learning and utilizes the information to improve students' learning and teachers' teaching practices (Harris, Irving, & Peterson, 2008). Therefore, teachers' conceptions of assessment have become critical aspects in any educational system because evidence exists that teachers' conceptions influence how they teach and what students learn. The study investigated the relationship between mathematics teachers' conceptions regarding assessment and their assessment practices in private schools of Karachi, Pakistan. Furthermore, this study explored the differences between primary and middle school mathematics teachers' conceptions about assessment and how such teachers' conceptions regarding assessment translated into their practice. A cross-sectional survey using the 'Teachers' Conceptions of Assessment' (TCoA) questionnaire was conducted on primary and middle level mathematics teachers (n=155) of schools which had an ongoing link with AKU-IED in sending their teachers for professional development courses. Data were analyzed using correlations and the non-parametric version of the independent t-test (i.e., Mann-Whitney). Results indicate that teachers' conceptions about assessment were positively correlated (r=.780) with their assessment practices which is statistically significant (p<.001). A further dimension to this study that evolved was its qualitative component which explored the contrasting conceptions of a group of participants regarding their assessment practices. Qualitative data were collected through unstructured observations and discussions with participant teachers. Participants with progressive views about assessment focused more towards improving teaching and learning. However, teachers who had limited conceptions towards assessment focused more on judging rather than improving students' learning. Overall results indicate that participant teachers agreed most with the improvement conception and accountability conception and disagreed with the irrelevance conception. Improvement, school, and student accountability conceptions were positively correlated. The irrelevance conception was inversely related to the improvement conception. Moreover, it was found that both primary and middle level mathematics teachers had positive conceptions towards assessment but no statistically significant differences were found between their conceptions of assessment. Thus, the study suggests that teachers with limited conceptions of assessment can be helped through professional development sessions and short educational measurement courses. The study provides opportunities for future researchers to conduct studies with larger, more representative samples for generalizability.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library