Research aimed at developing and validating an instrument to assess middle school students’ perceptions of assessment was conducted. Following a review of literature, a tentative 6-scale instrument of 48 items was trialled with a sample of 320 students in 7 Australian schools. Based on internal consistency reliability data and exploratory factor analysis, refinement decisions resulted in a 5-scale instrument called the Student Perceptions of Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ). The scales of the SPAQ are Congruence with Planned Learning, Authenticity, Student Consultation, Transparency, and Diversity. A sample of 3,098 students in 150 classrooms was used to validate the final SPAQ.
This article reports research conducted on students’ perceptions of assessment in science classes in Queensland and Western Australia. A specially developed instrument, the Student Perceptions of Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ) which assesses Congruence with Planned Learning, Authenticity, Student Consultation, Transparency, and Diversity was used to collect data from 3,055 students. Hierarchical cluster analysis resulted in a four cluster solution being accepted. While one cluster of 799 students held positive perceptions of assessment, another cluster of 640 students held negative views. The SPAQ allows for a greater focus on classroom-based perceptions of assessment rather than crude external accountability measures that decontextualise classroom assessment.