Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Lisa Abrams


The overarching question for this study is: to what extent are teachers using summative assessment data in a formative way? A survey research design study was implemented to address this question. A web-based survey was administered to elementary, middle, and high school teachers in a large, suburban school division in central Virginia. The survey data were used to determine the frequency with which teachers administered specific types of summative assessments, analyzed student summative assessment data, made changes in their instructional practice as a result of their analysis, and the level of teachers’ assessment literacy. The results of this study suggest teachers are administering a variety of summative assessments, with varying frequencies, throughout the year and analyzing data on a regular basis. Teachers’ formative use of summative assessment data is most often demonstrated through analysis using central tendency statistics. Disaggregating data by content standards or student subgroups is not as frequently attempted. Regardless of the methods of data analysis, an overwhelming majority of teachers reported using assessment data results to evaluate their instructional practice and make changes to enhance student learning. The assessment literacy level of teachers did not appear to have any influence on the extent to which they use summative assessments in a formative way. However, assessment literacy scores did differ across teacher characteristics. High school teachers had a higher assessment literacy score than elementary school teachers, and teachers with graduate degrees scored higher than those with a bachelor’s degree. Experience mattered as well; more experienced teachers had a higher assessment literacy score than beginning teachers. Finally, science and mathematics teachers had a higher assessment literacy score than elementary teachers. The findings of this study give building administrators and staff development leaders insight into current instructional practices of teachers. Additionally, a general measure of assessment literacy establishes a baseline from which educational leaders can develop future training to raise the assessment literacy of teachers


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Is Part Of

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Date of Submission

December 2009

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