Advertisement

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

  • Paola IannoneEmail author
  • Adrian Simpson
Article
  • 78 Downloads

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Summative assessment Epistemological beliefs Student preferences 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The authors know of no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. Andrews, P., Diego-Mantecón, J., Op’t Eynde, P., Sayers, J. (2007). Evaluating the sensitivity of the refined mathematics-related beliefs questionnaire to nationality, gender and age. In Proceedings of the fifth congress of the european society for research in mathematics education (pp. 209–218).Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, P., Diego-Mantecón, J., Vankúš, P., Op’t Eynde, P., Conway, P. (2011). Construct consistency in the assessment of students’ mathematics-related beliefs: a three-way cross-sectional pilot comparative study. Acta Didactica Universitatis Comenianae–Mathematics, 11, 1–25.Google Scholar
  3. Baeten, M., Dochy, F., Struyven, K. (2008). Students’ approaches to learning and assessment preferences in a portfolio-based learning environment. Instructional Science, 36(5-6), 359–374.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. Freeman: New York.Google Scholar
  5. Biglan, A. (1973). The characteristics of subject matter in different academic areas. Journal of Applied Psychology, 57(3), 195.Google Scholar
  6. Birenbaum, M. (1994). Toward adaptive assessment? The student’s angle. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 20(2), 239–255.Google Scholar
  7. Birenbaum, M. (2007). Assessment and instruction preferences and their relationship with test anxiety and learning strategies. Higher Education, 53(6), 749–768.Google Scholar
  8. Buehl, M.M., Alexander, P.A., Murphy, P.K. (2002). Beliefs about schooled knowledge: domain specific or domain general? Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27(3), 415–449.Google Scholar
  9. Chan, N., & Kennedy, P.E. (2002). Are multiple-choice exams easier for economics students? A comparison of multiple-choice and “equivalent” constructed-response exam questions. Southern Economic Journal, 68(4), 957–971.Google Scholar
  10. DeBacker, T.K., & Crowson, H.M. (2006). Influences on cognitive engagement: epistemological beliefs and need for closure. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(3), 535–551.Google Scholar
  11. Depaepe, F., De Corte, E., Verschaffel, L. (2016). Mathematical epistemological beliefs. In Greene, J.A., Sandoval, W.A., Bråten, I. (Eds.) Handbook of epistemic cognition (pp. 147–164). Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Drobnic Vidic, A. (2015). First-year students’ beliefs about context problems in mathematics in university science programmes. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 13(5), 1161–1187.Google Scholar
  13. Furnham, A., Batey, M., Martin, N. (2011). How would you like to be evaluated? The correlates of students’ preferences for assessment methods. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(2), 259–263.Google Scholar
  14. Furnham, A., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2005). Individual differences and beliefs concerning preference for university assessment methods. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(9), 1968–1994.Google Scholar
  15. Furnham, A., Christopher, A., Garwood, J., Martin, N.G. (2008). Ability, demography, learning style, and personality trait correlates of student preference for assessment method. Educational Psychology, 28(1), 15–27.Google Scholar
  16. Gijbels, D., & Dochy, F. (2006). Students’ assessment preferences and approaches to learning: can formative assessment make a difference? Educational Studies, 32(4), 399–409.Google Scholar
  17. Goldberg, L.R. (1993). The structure of phenotypic personality traits. American Psychologist, 48(1), 26.Google Scholar
  18. Greene, J.A., & Seung, B.Y. (2014). Modeling and measuring epistemic cognition: a qualitative re-investigation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39(1), 12–28.Google Scholar
  19. Harlen, W., & Deakin Crick, R. (2003). Testing and motivation for learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 10(2), 169–207.Google Scholar
  20. Hofer, B.K. (2000). Dimensionality and disciplinary differences in personal epistemology. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(4), 378–405.Google Scholar
  21. Hofer, B.K. (2001). Personal epistemology research: implications for learning and teaching. Educational Psychology Review, 13(4), 353–383.Google Scholar
  22. Iannone, P., & Simpson, A. (2015). Students’ preferences in undergraduate mathematics assessment. Studies in Higher Education, 40(6), 1046–1067.Google Scholar
  23. Iannone, P., & Simpson, A. (2016). University students’ perceptions of summative assessment: the role of context. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 41(6), 785–801.Google Scholar
  24. Joughin, G. (2010). The hidden curriculum revisited: a critical review of research into the influence of summative assessment on learning. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(3), 335–345.Google Scholar
  25. Kloosterman, P., & Stage, F.K. (1992). Measuring beliefs about mathematical problem solving. School Science and Mathematics, 92(3), 109–115.Google Scholar
  26. Limon, M. (2006). The domain generality–specificity of epistemological beliefs: a theoretical problem, a methodological problem or both? International Journal of Educational Research, 45(1), 7–27.Google Scholar
  27. Marton, F., & Säljö, R. (1976). On qualitative differences in learning II: outcome as a function of the learner’s conception of the task. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46(2), 115–127.Google Scholar
  28. Mason, L. (2000). Role of anomalous data and epistemological beliefs in middle school students’ theory change about two controversial topics. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 15(3), 329–346.Google Scholar
  29. Mason, L. (2003). High school students’ beliefs about maths, mathematical problem solving, and their achievement in maths: a cross-sectional study. Educational Psychology, 23(1), 73–85.Google Scholar
  30. Mason, L., Boscolo, P., Tornatora, M.C., Ronconi, L. (2013). Besides knowledge: a cross-sectional study on the relations between epistemic beliefs, achievement goals, self-beliefs, and achievement in science. Instructional Science, 41 (1), 49–79.Google Scholar
  31. Muis, K.R. (2004). Personal epistemology and mathematics: a critical review and synthesis of research. Review of Educational Research, 74(3), 317–377.Google Scholar
  32. Muis, K.R., Bendixen, L.D., Haerle, F.C. (2006). Domain-generality and domain-specificity in personal epistemology research: philosophical and empirical reflections in the development of a theoretical framework. Educational Psychology Review, 18(1), 3–54.Google Scholar
  33. Muis, K.R., Duffy, M.C., Trevors, G., Ranellucci, J., Foy, M. (2014). What were they thinking? Using cognitive interviewing to examine the validity of self-reported epistemic beliefs. International Education Research, 2(1), 17–32.Google Scholar
  34. Op’t Eynde, P., & De Corte, E. (2003). Students’ mathematics-related belief systems: design and analysis of a questionnaire. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Chicago, April 21–25.Google Scholar
  35. Op’t Eynde, P., De Corte, E., Verschaffel, L. (2006). Epistemic dimensions of students’ mathematics-related belief systems. International Journal of Educational Research, 45(1), 57–70.Google Scholar
  36. Ravindran, B., Greene, B.A., DeBacker, T.K. (2005). Predicting preservice teachers’ cognitive engagement with goals and epistemological beliefs. The Journal of Educational Research, 98(4), 222–233.Google Scholar
  37. Sambell, K., McDowell, L., Brown, S. (1997). But is it fair?: an exploratory study of student perceptions of the consequential validity of assessment. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 23(4), 349–371.Google Scholar
  38. Schoenfeld, A.H. (1989). Explorations of students’ mathematical beliefs and behavior. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 20(4), 338–355.Google Scholar
  39. Schommer, M., Crouse, A., Rhodes, N. (1992). Epistemological beliefs and mathematical text comprehension: believing it is simple does not make it so. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(4), 435.Google Scholar
  40. Schommer-Aikins, M. (2004). Explaining the epistemological belief system: introducing the embedded systemic model and coordinated research approach. Educational Psychologist, 39(1), 19–29.Google Scholar
  41. Schommer-Aikins, M., & Duell, O.K. (2013). Domain specific and general epistemological beliefs their effects on mathematics. Revista de Investigación Educativa, 31(2), 317–330.Google Scholar
  42. Schommer-Aikins, M., Duell, O.K., Barker, S. (2003). Epistemological beliefs across domains using Biglan’s classification of academic disciplines. Research in Higher Education, 44(3), 347–366.Google Scholar
  43. Schommer-Aikins, M., Duell, O.K., Hutter, R. (2005). Epistemological beliefs, mathematical problem-solving beliefs, and academic performance of middle school students. The Elementary School Journal, 105(3), 289–304.Google Scholar
  44. Stodolsky, S.S., Salk, S., Glaessner, B. (1991). Student views about learning math and social studies. American Educational Research Journal, 28(1), 89–116.Google Scholar
  45. Tsai, C.C. (2000). Relationships between student scientific epistemological beliefs and perceptions of constructivist learning environments. Educational Research, 42(2), 193–205.Google Scholar
  46. Van de Watering, G., Gijbels, D., Dochy, F., Van der Rijt, J. (2008). Students? assessment preferences, perceptions of assessment and their relationships to study results. Higher Education, 56(6), 645.Google Scholar
  47. Velicer, W.F., & Fava, J.L. (1998). Affects of variable and subject sampling on factor pattern recovery. Psychological Methods, 3(2), 231.Google Scholar
  48. Watters, D.J., & Watters, J.J. (2007). Approaches to learning by students in the biological sciences: implications for teaching. International Journal of Science Education, 29(1), 19–43.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations