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The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment December 2012, Vol. 12(1)

Filipino College Students’ Conception of Assessment Randy Wilson C. Delfino

Emilio Aguinaldo College, Philippines
Carlo Magno

De La Salle University, Manila
Abstract The study assessed Filipino college students’ conception of assessment using Brown’s (2008) framework. A Filipino version of the Student Conceptions of Assessment was constructed and the items were made for Filipino college students’ experience of assessment in higher education. There were 100 items that were initially constructed based on the definition of the factors in Brown’s Model VI framework. There were 200 Filipino college students who served as participants. Initially, a four-factor model was tested using the CFA. The model did not attained an adequate fit: χ2=13114.8, RMSEA = .08, GFI =.04 , AGFI =.04. Principal components analysis was conducted to explore the possible factor structure for the items since it did not fit the CFA. There was only one conception of assessment dimension with factor loadings of .50 obtained with 31 items. The model with one dimension was tested again using the CFA and the model attained an adequate fit: χ2 = 992.459, RMSEA = .07, GFI =.07, AGFI =.07, PGI=.85. Keywords: Student Conceptions of Assessment, Filipino college student conceptions of assessment Introduction Assessment is used for a number of purposes including individual certification, improvement in teaching, and feedback on the quality of learning (Peterson & Irving, 2008). Each student has their own interpretation and idea on what assessment is. Brown and Hirschfeld (2008) defined conception as mental representations of phenomena in reality that explains complex and difficult categories of experience, such as assessment. Assessment is defined as any act of interpreting information about student performance, collected through any of multitude of means (Brown & Hirschfeld, 2008). Moreover, students’ conceptions of educational processes are important because there is evidence that those conceptions have an impact on their educational experiences and learning (Brown & Hirschfeld, 2008). Pajares (1992) explained that teachers’ conceptions are product of their educational experiences as students, suggesting strongly that similar conceptions might be found in both teachers and students. The present study made use of the framework of Brown (2008) on Student Conception of Assessment model VI. Brown (2004) started with Teachers’ Conceptions of Assessment Inventory that is used to determine teachers’ conception of assessment. Teachers’ conception of assessment can be understood in terms of their agreement and disagreement with four purposes to which assessment may be put specifically, (a) improvement on teaching and learning, (b) school accountability, (c) student accountability,
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and (d) treating assessment as irrelevant. In 2005 and 2006 two forms of the Students’ Conceptions of Assessment inventory were administered to ascertain the structure and strength of the student conceptions (Brown & Hirschfeld, 2005; Brown, 2006). Brown and Hirschfeld (2005) indicated that students have three main conceptions about the uses of the assessments that they experience: (1) Assessment is something that students may be forced to participate in, but it is unfair, bad, or irrelevant to the students; (2) Assessment, including classroom assessment, acts to make the schools accountable; (3) Assessment, or at least some formats or procedures, may be beneficial, even enjoyable, inimproving the quality of student learning. Brown and Hirschfeld (2005) described that 29 statements were designed to load on four purposes: (a) Assessment makes schools and students accountable, (b) Assessment improves teaching and learning, (c) Assessment is irrelevant or bad; (d) Assessment provides a valid description of performance. However, in the study of Brown (2006) students who agreed more that assessment made students accountable had higher reading achievement scores, whereas, those who agreed more that assessment was fun or could be ignored, and that assessment made schools accountable had lower reading achievement scores. For the next version of the Students’ Conception of Assessment, eight factors were proposed. The items and their intended factors for the Students’ Conception of Assessment version IV (SCoA-IV) are as follows:(a) Assessment is bad, unfair, ignored; (b) Assessment is informative and formative; (c) Assessment is beneficial, fun; (d) Assessment makes schools accountable; (e) Assessment improves teaching; (f) Assessment predicts future; (g) Assessment helps me self-regulate; (h) Assessment makes students accountable. The first two studies of Brown and Hirschfeld (2007) had large samples of students who did the short versions of the questionnaire which limited the range of conceptions that could be investigated. Those two studies demonstrated that there were meaningful relations between conceptions of assessment and academic performance. For example, the four conceptions of assessment (assessment makes students accountable, assessment makes schools accountable, assessment is fun and assessment is ignored) were related to student achievement in reading. These results were seen consistently with self-regulation theory. Moreover, Brown, Irving, Peterson, and Hirschfeld (2007) studied secondary school-level students’ multiple and conflicting conceptions of assessment. These conceptions include: Assessment improves learning, assessment makes students accountable, assessment is negative because it is unfair or bad, and assessment is liked because it is fun or beneficial. The Conceptions of Assessment-Version V (SCoA-V) inventory consisted of 45 statements related to various complementary and competing purposes of assessment.The items in this inventory have the same factors as to the previous version: (a) School Accountability; (b) Student Accountability; (c) Classroom Environment; (d) Personal Enjoyment; (e) Student Improvement; (f) Teacher improves learning; (g) Assessment is bad; (h) Assessment is ignored. The relationship of conceptions with practices that define assessment was further examined. Brown, Irving, Peterson, and Hirschfeld (2007) explained that it should be noted that students’ definitions of assessment may not be the same as the actual practices they experience. Nevertheless, they provide a provisional insight into how beliefs structure students’ experiences. Student beliefs about assessment appear to vary according to the level of schooling they are enrolled in, with high school students being more negative about
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assessment. The Students Conceptions of Assessment version VI (SCoA-VI) inventory elicits attitudes towards four beliefs (Brown, 2008): (1) Assessment improves the teachers teaching and the students learning; (2) Assessment relates to external factors such as school quality or students’ future; (3) Assessment has affective impact or benefit on individuals or classes; (4) Assessment is irrelevant because it is unfair and ignored. Research using the Student Conceptions of Assessment inventory in New Zealand has shown that the improvement in conception has an adaptive effect on performance in mathematics (Brown, Peterson, & Irving, 2009) and reading (Brown & Hirschfeld, 2008), consistent with self-regulation theories (Boekaerts & Corno, 2005; Zimmerman, 2008). In other words, increased endorsement of these conceptions positively predicted increased academic performance. The Student Conception of Assessment (SCoA) of Brown was adapted in the present study that aimed to expand the usage of SCoA for Filipino College Student Conceptions of Assessment. The following factors of Brown and Hirschfeld (2008) are as follows: 1. Student and school accountability. Refer to the responses of students showing their self-worth and self-efficacy. This would also reflect their competence, and view assessment that makes them accountable for learning. School accountability refers on a positive response of students on their improvement in their performance in school. Quality of school and the effectiveness of the teacher are important feedback based on formal assessment that reflected a positive effect on the academic achievement of students. 2. Assessment is ignored. Refers on how college students thought that assessment is being bad or unfair for them. They also thought that some forms of assessment are arbitrary, irrelevant, and inaccurate. 3. Personal enjoyment. Refer on the attitude of college students as they see assessment as fun, towards different types of assessment. 4. Teacher improves learning. Refer to a belief that assessment helps teacher in assessing students learning and moreover improves student performance. 5. Student improvement. Refers to how the students gain insights from the results of assessment that made the student improve their learning. This includes the use of feedback and or consultation with the teacher. The purpose of adapting the Student Conception of Assessment of Brown (2008) for Filipino college student is to determine if the factors will fit in the case of Filipino college students. In the Philippine setting, many teachers in higher education see assessment as a separate dimension with instruction. The most common practice of teachers especially in higher education is that instruction and assessment are both given at separate times. The assessment that takes place is different with what transpired during instruction (Magno, 2010). This is strongly reflected in the National Competency Based Teaching Standards (NCBTS) of the Department of Education in the Philippines. The assessment component was not as important as the other dimensions (such as the social regard for learners, learning environment, diversity of learners, curriculum, and professional development). The assessment was conceptualized as part of planning and reporting and not even as a separate domain. Assessment is usually neglected even when implementing educational programs (Magno, 2012). Assessment in the Philippine setting is
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not given a critical role in the teaching and learning process as other components and it is usually neglected in designing programs. This scenario is reflective with students’ conception of assessment and the factor structure may not be consistent with the findings in other countries. This scenario justifies why is there a need to develop a new set of items for Filipino college students. Method Participants There were 200 participants randomly selected that are in their first and second year in college. Among the participants 44.5% (89) are first year college students and 55.5% (111) are from second year; 65% (130) were females and 35% (70) were males. Instrument New set of items for the conceptions of teaching was developed. A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was conducted in order to gather college students’conceptions regarding assessment. During the FGD, the topics such as how teachers give tests, how students understand the results of their assessment, what they understand about assessment, why is there a need to take a test, and benefits of taking a test were obtained. The responses obtained in the FGD were used to create statements to measure conceptions of assessment. The responses from the FGD were clustered according to Brown’s Student Conception of Assessment model VI. The responses were converted to items for the scale. There were 100 items constructed that describe the Filipino college student conceptions of assessment. The scale used a five-point Likert scale (1) strongly disagree refers to the responses that strongly negative responses on the statement, (2) disagree refers to the negative response on the statement, however, (3) as neutral thus it refers to slightly disagree or slightly agree responses, (4) agree refers to moderately agree responses, and (5) strongly agree refers to strongly positive responses on the statement. The items’ content were reviewed and revised. Broad items such as “ When I am taking an assessment it enhances my critical thinking” was change to more specific item such as “When taking an essay test it enhances my critical thinking”. Procedure In administering the Filipino College Student Conceptions of Assessment, the researcher requested for the consent of students to participate in the study. They were asked to fill-up some information about themselves such as their name, course, year level, and gender. The participants were asked to rate the degree of their conceptions that best describe assessment using a five-point Likert scale from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). The students were debriefed about the purpose of the study. The participants were also informed that the statements were constructed based on the focus group discussion conducted by the researcher to the selected group of students to elicit responses on the conceptions of assessment.
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Data Analysis The Mean and standard deviation were obtained for each of the five proposed factors. The five conceptions were inter-correlated to test if factors were significantly related with each other. The items of the College Students’ Conceptions of Assessment with a four-factor structure was tested using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). The CFA allows the model’s goodness of fit to be tested. The degree to which the solution fit the data would provide evidence for or against the prior hypothesis. Results The items reliability was determined by computing its Cronbach’s alpha. The means and standard deviation were also reported. The four-factor structure of the model was tested using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. Table 1

Descriptive Statistics of the Students’ Conceptions of Assessment Conceptions M SD Cronbach’s alpha
(1) (2) (3)

(4) (1) Student Accountability 3.8 0.33 .90 --(2) School Accountability 3.5 0.33 .68 .92** --(3) Assessment is fun 3.5 0.32 .67 .83** .81** --(4) Assessment is ignored 2.3 0.48 .78 -.73** -.74** -.64** --Note. Strongly agree = 5; Moderately agree = 4; Slightly agree = 3; Moderately disagree = 2 **p<.01 Table 1 shows the mean, standard deviation and the corresponding Cronbach’s alpha of each subscale of the conceptions of the assessment. Student accountability had a mean score of 3.8, school accountability had a mean score of 3.5 and assessment is fun had a mean score of 3.5, assessment had a mean score of 2.3. Each factor of the conception of assessment obtained a high variability in terms of scores distribution. The internal consistency of the entire scale is .89. For each factors Cronbach’s alpha value of .90 was obtained for student accountability, .68 for school accountability, .67 for assessment is fun, and .78 for assessment is ignored. All the four factors of students’ conception of assessment are significantly correlated. The factor on assessment is ignored was negatively correlated with the other factors. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis was conducted to test the four factor structure of the proposed conception of assessment with new items. The results showed that the items belong to their respective latent construct with significant parameter estimates and the four factors were significantly related. However, the model did not attain a good fit: χ2=12357.24, df=4753, RMS standardized Residual=.13, GFI=.38. The results of the CFA did not show a good fit and a new factor structure needs to be determined considering that the items in the scale are now composed of different
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contents as compared to the original model. A Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was conducted in order to uncover the possible factor structure for the items. When PCA approach was used, only one factor was appropriate that explains 16.88% of the total variance. There were very few items under the second and succeeding factors with high factor loadings (>.40) even when orthogonal and oblique rotations were conducted. Most of the items loaded under the first factor. Only those items with factor loadings of .50 were considered. The items underlying Filipino students’ conception of assessment falls under one dimension. The items that loaded under one dimension with a factor loading of .50 were again tested using the CFA. In the procedure, the items with high factor loadings were placed under one latent factor. The one factor model of Filipino students’ conception of assessment attained an adequate fit: RMS Standardized residual=.07, RMSEA=.07, and PGI=.85. Table 2

Items with Factor loading and CFA Parameter Estimates
Items [A17] Assessment is important for my future career or job. [A18] Assessment determines the consistency of my learning and my behavior. [A20] Assessment make our class cooperate in discussions. [A24] I don’t believe in my capacity in passing an assessment especially in my major subjects. [A25] I make it sure that I get a high score when I take a test. [A28] Low scores in the assessment makes me challenged to do better next time. [A34] Assessment prepares me to be a successful in the future. [A35] The results of my assessment will usually be the basis if I could pass my subjects or not. [A41] I like objective type of assessment. [A56] Assessment provides information on how well schools are doing. [A57] Teachers use assessment to see what they need to teach next. [A59] Assessment is irrelevant when teachers are not teaching properly. [A61] Tests are screened by the department heads before students take them. [A69] I enjoy taking a test. [A70] My efforts are rewarded when I get high scores in my assessment. [A73] I enjoy answering tests. [A75] I enjoy learning more when I am assessed. [A79] I feel stressed when there is an assessment. [A82] Assessment is boring especially if it takes more than one hour. [A86] I am not comfortable of the atmosphere in the class when assessment is going on. [B16] Assessment predicts my future performance. [B49] Assessment is a way to determine how much I learned from teaching. [B60] The type of assessment prepared by the teachers shows the worth and quality of the school. [B65] Teachers don’t usually know what assessment they give to students. [B66] I feel nervous in taking the assessment especially if I am not prepared. [B67] I get frustrated when I fail in the assessment. [B87] Assessment is unfair to students. [C40] My parents usually monitor the results of my assessment. [C43] Assessment is an opportunity for me to express my knowledge in the class. [C46] I don’t prepare in taking tests. [C53] Teachers are over assessing. PCA Loadings 0.57 0.54 0.54 0.53 0.52 0.61 0.56 0.52 0.45 0.53 0.53 0.50 0.58 0.53 0.68 0.41 0.52 0.57 0.52 0.57 0.62 0.57 0.54 0.53 0.60 0.58 0.51 0.54 0.52 0.52 0.53 CFA Estimates 0.40 0.50 0.42 0.30 0.39 0.55 0.36 0.36 0.37 0.39 0.42 0.39 0.43 0.36 0.57 0.35 0.51 0.41 0.45 0.39 0.43 0.44 0.41 0.37 0.41 0.39 0.42 0.36 0.39 0.41 0.40

There were 31 items extracted from original set of 100 items that loaded under one factor as result of the principal components analysis. The CFA proved that the 31 items fall
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within one dimension. All the parameter estimates of the 31 items were significant under one latent factor. Discussion The study aimed to determine the Filipino college students’ conception of assessment using the framework of Brown (2008) with four factors (student accountability, school accountability, assessment is fun, and assessment is ignored). Previous studies using the model showed to have multiple factors (see Brown, 2004; Brown and Hirschfeld, 2005; Brown & Hirschfeld, 2008). However, the present study showed conception of assessment having a single factor. Filipino college students’ conception on assessment showed that 16.88% of total variance appropriately explains a single factor and this was supported in the succeeding CFA conducted. The sample of Filipino college students view assessment as a single idea where all activities are integrated consistently under one domain. The result indicates a limited thinking of assessment and there is a need to improve students to learn the more complex mental representation of assessment. This starts by further educating and advancing what students know about assessment. This can be accomplished through teachers modelling the proper conduct of assessment. Assessment is not limited through paper and pencil tests conducted inside the classroom. Students should be able to see that teachers see the utility of assessment in their instruction. Students need to see teachers in higher education using assessment for the function of improving their instruction and not just for the purpose of marking. Teachers should not see assessment as limited through paper and pencil and recording the results after. Assessment should go beyond recording. The record should be translated into student improvement which is the very basic idea of student accountability. Assessment through a developmental or formative approach should translate into students’ mastery of skills and raise students’ achievement which reflects school accountability. The idea of assessment according to Brown and Hirschfeld (2008) is a process coming from multiple sources of information. This tells educators that assessment is conducted in many ways and the conduct of assessment is an integration of several sources. Moreover, the findings in the study calls for quality assessment that teachers give and this idea should not be neglected. There is a need to improve the conduct of giving assessment for the purpose of improving the quality of learning. Teachers who conduct quality and appropriate principles of assessment is an indicator of good teaching. Teachers’ preparation in giving an assessment has an implication on how students view assessment. Teachers’ quality of assessment should measure improvement in students learning and has implication to their academic achievement. If teachers are ill-prepared in their conduct assessment and they themselves have a limited knowledge about the complexity of assessment, students see assessment to be limited as well. The theory of Brown and Hirschfeld (2008) is reiterated that the students’ conceptions and their relationship to achievement are consistent with formative assessment theories. Based on the results of the present study, the students’ conception of assessment is limited within a single dimension and this can be reflected with their achievement. Brown, et al. (2009) articulated that the students’ thoughts about teacher-controlled assessment practices reflect the ability of teachers’ to improve student learning. This
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reflects the limited capacity of teachers to use assessment results to improve student achievement. The different factors of assessment were not highlighted among the Filipino college student conception. Students do not perceive the multidimensionality of assessment occurring in their college setting. The findings reflect the lack of sophistication in their view of assessment practices that credits individual effort, and explicit criteria for assessment. The conception is only limited to end-of-semester examinations. Filipino college students limited view on assessment don’t fully consider such group or individual ratings, the use of portfolios, formative assessment, and constant feedback as part of a complex domain of assessment. Assessment for them is limited as a form of test which they expect for scores that represents on how they performed in the class. References Brown, G. (2002). Student beliefs about learning: New Zealand students in year 11. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 6(1), 110-114. Brown, G., & Hirschfeld, G. (2005). Secondary school students’ conceptions of assessment: Conceptions of assessment and feedback Project Report No.4. Auckland: University of Auckland. Brown, G. (2006). Secondary school students’ conceptions of assessment: A survey of four schools. Conceptions of Assessment and Feedback Project Report No.5. Auckland, NZ: University of Auckland. Brown, G., & Hirschfeld, G. (2007). Students’ conceptions of assessment and mathematics: Self-regulation raises achievement. Australian Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 7, 63-74. Brown, G., & Hirschfeld, G. (2008). Students’ conception on assessment: Links to outcomes. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 15(1), 3-17. Brown, G., Irving, E., Peterson, E., & Hirschfeld, G. (2009). Use of interactive – informal assessment practices: New Zealand secondary students’ conceptions of assessment. Learning and Instruction, 19, 97-111. Brown, G., & Harris, L. (2011). Level of schooling effects on student conceptions of assessment: The impact of high stakes assessments on secondary students’ beliefs . New Orleans, LA: American Educational Research Associations. Brown Brown, G. T. L., & Wang, Z. (2011). Illustrating assessment: How Hong Kong university students conceive of the purposes of assessment. Studies in Higher Education, iFirst. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2011.616955 Brown, G. T. L. (2011). Self-regulation of assessment beliefs and attitudes: A review of the students’ conceptions of assessment inventory. Educational Psychology, 31(6), 731748. Harris, L., & Brown, G. (2010).Comparing teacher and student perspectives on self-

assessment.“My teacher’s judgement matters more than mine” Comparing teacher and student perspectives on self-assessment practices in the classroom. Boulder ,
CO: American Educational Research Education.. Hirschfeld, G., & Brown, G. (2009).Students’ conceptions of assessment factorial and structural invariance of SCoA across sex, age and ethnicity. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25(1), 30-38.
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Magno, C. (2010). The functions of grading students. The Assessment Handbook, 3, 4149. Magno, C. (2012). A needs assessment in the conduct of program evaluation in schools. The Assessment Handbook, 9, 27-49. Peterson, E., & Irving, E. (2006). Conceptions of assessment and feedback project. Wellington, New Zealand: Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. Peterson, E., & Irving, E. (2007). Conceptions of assessment and feedback. Auckland: Uni Services Limited. Walton, K., & Brown, G. (2009). Personal accountability versus excuse-making: The

impact of secondary students’ conceptions of assessment on academic performance mediated by self-efficacy and interest. Amsterdam, Netherlands: European
Association for Research in Learning & Instruction. About the Authors Mr. Randy Wilson Delfino is the Chairperson of the Psychology Department at the Emilio Aguinaldo College. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Educational Psychology major in Quantitative Research. Dr. Carlo Magno is presently a faculty of the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department at De La Salle University, Manila. He has published several articles in line with scale development, assessment policies in education, and student learning.

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