Assessment culture matters: Teachers’ and students’ perceptions of assessment and feedback

Research output: Types of ThesisPh.D. Thesis


Research indicates that the implementation of Assessment of Learning (AfL)
has overemphasized the "letter" of AfL at the expense of the "spirit." There
is still limited research about how teachers perceive assessment and
feedback in different assessment cultures at the upper-secondary level,
particularly in the Icelandic context. The aim of the research is to gain a
deeper understanding of how teachers' and students' perception of
assessment and feedback is shaped by different assessment cultures. The
research was conducted in three upper secondary schools in Iceland. The
methodology is based on mixed method design, where quantitative survey
data is followed by qualitative focus-group interviews. The dataset consists
of a survey administered to teachers and students, as well as six focus
groups of teachers and students in corresponding schools. The schools for
this study were purposefully chosen based on school policy and experience
of implementing AfL. The findings suggest that students' involvement in
assessment is limited and teachers' and students' perceptions of
assessment diverse. AfL cultural characteristics were dynamic and
demonstrated by personal communication, strong teacher-student
relationships and culture of dialogue. The findings indicate that the
grading/testing assessment culture is more static and characterized by
superficial approaches to learning, distrust of student participation, an
emphasis on bureaucracy, and power imbalances. Overall, teachers' and
students' perceptions of assessment and feedback appear to be influenced
by characteristics of the assessment culture. The findings conclude that
limited student involvement needs special attention, particularly in relation
to emphasis in the national curriculum and to enhance teachers and
students assessment literacy.
Translated title of the contributionNámsmatsmenning skiptir máli: Upplifun kennara og nemenda af námsmati og endurgjöf
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Faculty of Education and Pedagogy
  • Smith, Kari, Supervisor, External person
  • Geirsdóttir, Guðrún, Supervisor
Award date13 May 2022
Place of PublicationReykjavík
Print ISBNs978-9935-9625-9-1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2022

Other keywords

  • Assessment
  • assessment culture
  • School culture
  • Teaching Methods


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