The Relation between Mathematics Students’ Discipline-Based Epistemological Beliefs and their Summative Assessment Preferences

  • Paola IannoneEmail author
  • Adrian Simpson


Existing research posits a relationship between undergraduate mathematics students’ mathematics-related epistemological beliefs and their perceptions of summative assessment. This paper reports a study investigating whether there is indeed such a relationship. First and second year mathematics undergraduate students at two universities in the UK were invited to complete a questionnaire, comprising the Assessment Preference Inventory and the Mathematics-Related Beliefs Questionnaire. The results did not support the prediction, with the only statistically significant relation found being one between students’ self-efficacy and their preference for summative assessment methods requiring complex responses. We conclude either that the prediction of the relationship is mistaken, or that concerns about the definition of discipline-based epistemological beliefs, the uniformity of the sample in the study or the issue of validity of the tools used to measure epistemological beliefs may mask the nature of this relationship.


Summative assessment Epistemological beliefs Student preferences 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The authors know of no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematics Education CentreLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK
  2. 2.School of EducationDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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