This paper describes some of the findings of a project which set out to explore and develop teachers’ understanding and practices in their summative assessments. The focus was on those summative assessments that are used on a regular basis within schools for guiding the progress of pupils and for internal accountability. The project combined both intervention and research elements. The intervention aimed both to explore how teachers might improve those practices in the light of their re‐examination of their validity, and to engage them in moderation exercises within and between schools to audit examples of students’ work and to discuss their appraisals of these examples. This paper reports findings, arising from this work, of the research that aimed to study how teachers understand validity, and how they formulate their classroom assessment practices in the light of that understanding. The paper also considers how that understanding might be challenged and developed. It was found that teachers’ attention to validity issues had been undermined by the external test regimes, but that teachers could re‐address these issues by reflection on their values and by engagement in a shared development of portfolio assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215 - 232
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


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