High School Mathematics Teachers’ Beliefs About Assessment in Mathematics and the Connections to Their Mathematical Beliefs

  • Gustavo Martínez-SierraEmail author
  • Javier García-García
  • María Valle-Zequeida
  • Crisólogo Dolores-Flores


This qualitative research addresses the gap of studying the relationship between beliefs about assessment in mathematics and mathematics beliefs by identifying the (espoused) beliefs about assessment and their connections with the mathematical beliefs of 18 high school Mexican out-of-field mathematics teachers (i.e. teachers without formal training for teaching mathematics). Thematic analysis was used to analyze data gathered through semi-structured interviews. Results revealed that teachers’ beliefs are organized in different clusters that connect their beliefs about mathematics and assessment in mathematics. Some specific mathematical beliefs and beliefs on assessment played a central role on the construction of these clusters (e.g. ‘mathematics is for applications’). There are two complementary reasons for the existence of these beliefs: the daily context of the participants and their condition of being out-the-field teachers with vocational training as engineers.


Assessment in mathematics Mathematical beliefs Teacher beliefs Teachers’ beliefs about assessment in mathematics Thematic analysis 


  1. Barnes, N., Fives, H., & Dacey, C. M. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about assessment. In H. Fives & M. Gregoire (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 284–300). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Beswick, K. (2006a). Implications of complexity for the study of belief systems. Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics, 26(3), 1-6.Google Scholar
  3. Beswick, K. (2006b). The importance of mathematics teachers’ beliefs. Australian Mathematics Teacher, 62(4), 17–22.Google Scholar
  4. Beswick, K. (2007). Teachers’ beliefs that matter in secondary mathematics classrooms. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 65(1), 95–120. Scholar
  5. Beswick, K. (2012). Teachers’ beliefs about school mathematics and mathematicians’ mathematics and their relationship to practice. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 79(1), 127-147.
  6. Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2006). Assessment and classroom learning assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education. Principles, Policy & Practice, 5(1), 37–41. Scholar
  7. Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2009). Developing the theory of formative assessment. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 5–31. Scholar
  8. Bosse, M., & Törner, G. (2015). Teacher identity as a theoretical framework for researching out-of-field teaching mathematics teachers. In C. Bernack-Schüler, R. Erens, T. Leuders, & A. Eichler (Eds.), Views and beliefs in mathematics education (pp. 1–13). Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer.
  9. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. Scholar
  10. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. In H. Cooper (Ed.), APA handbook of research methods in psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 57–71). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Scholar
  11. Brown, G. T. L. (2004). Teachers’ conceptions of assessment: Implications for policy and professional development. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 11(3), 301–318.Google Scholar
  12. Brown, G. T. L. (2008). Conceptions of assessment: Understanding what assessment means to teachers and students. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Cross, D. I. (2009). Alignment, cohesion, and change: Examining mathematics teachers’ belief structures and their influence on instructional practices. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 12(5), 325–346. Scholar
  14. Ernest, P. (1989). The impact of beliefs on the teaching of mathematics. In P. Ernest (Ed.), Mathematics teaching: The state of the art (pp. 249–254). New York, NY: Falmer.Google Scholar
  15. Fives, H., Lacatena, N. & Gerard, L. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about teaching (and learning). In H. Fives & M. G. Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 249–265). New York, NY: Routledge.
  16. Furinghetti, F., & Pehkonen, E. (2003). Rethinking characterizations of beliefs. In G. C. Leder, E. Pehkonen, & G. Törner (Eds.), Beliefs: A hidden variable in mathematics education? (pp. 39–57). Dordrech, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  17. Green, T. F. (1971). The activities of teaching. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  18. Grigutsch, S., Raatz, U., & Törner, G. (1998). Einstellungen gegenüber Mathematik bei Mathematiklehrern [Attitudes towards mathematics in mathematics teachers]. Journal Fur Mathematik-Didaktik, 19(1), 3–45.
  19. Harris, L. R., & Brown, G. T. L. (2009). The complexity of teachers’ conceptions of assessment: Tensions between the needs of schools and students. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 16(3), 365–381.
  20. 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.
  21. Kaasila, R. (2007). Using narrative inquiry for investigating the becoming of a mathematics teacher. ZDM-The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 39(3), 205–213. Scholar
  22. Liljedahl, P. (2009). Teachers’ insights into the relationship between beliefs and practice. In J. Maasz & W. Schlöglmann (Eds.), Beliefs and attitudes in mathematics education: New research results (pp. 44–54). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Maasz, J., & Schlöglmann, W. (Eds.). (2009). Beliefs and attitudes in mathematics education. New Research Results. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  24. Niss, M. (1993). Assessment in mathematics education and its effects: An introduction. In M. Niss (Ed.), Investigations into assessment in mathematics education (pp. 1–30). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  25. Olafson, L., Grandy, C. S., & Owens, M. C. (2014). Qualitative approaches to studying teachers’ beliefs. In H. Fives & M. G. Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 128–149). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 307–332. Scholar
  27. Philipp, R. A. (2007). Mathematics teachers’ beliefs and affect. In F. Lester (Ed.), Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 257–315). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  28. Raymond, A. M. (1997). Inconsistency between a beginning elementary school teacher’s mathe- matics beliefs and teaching practice. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(5), 550–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Richardson, V. (1996). The role of attitudes and beliefs in learning to teach. In J. Sikula (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 102–119). New York, NY: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Schoenfeld, A. H. (1998). Toward a theory of teaching-in-context. Issues in Education, 4(1), 1–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schueler, S., Roesken-Winter, B., Weißenrieder, J., Lambert, A., & Römer, M. (2015). Characteristics of out-of-field teaching: Teacher beliefs and competencies. In K. Kraine & N. Vondrová (Eds.), Proceedings of the ninth congress of the European Society for Research in mathematics education (pp. 3254–3261). Prague, Czech Republic: Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Education and ERME.Google Scholar
  32. Skott, J. (2015). The promises, problems, and prospects of research on teachers’ beliefs. In H. Fives & M. G. Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 13–30). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Stipek, D. J., Givvin, K. B., Salmon, J. M. & MacGyvers, V. L. (2001). Teachers’ beliefs and practices related to mathematics instruction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(2), 213–226.
  34. Suurtamm, C., & Koch, M. J. (2014). Navigating dilemmas in transforming assessment practices: Experiences of mathematics teachers in Ontario, Canada. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 26(3), 263–287. Scholar
  35. Suurtamm, C., Thompson, D. R., Kim, R. Y., Moreno, L. D., Sayac, N., Schukajlow, S., . . . Vos, P. (2016). Assessment in mathematics education. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
  36. Thompson, A. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and conceptions: A synthesis of the research. In D. A. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 127–146). New York, NY: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  37. Törner, G., & Grigutsch, S. (1994). “Mathematische Weltbilder” bei Studienanfängern—eine Erhebung [“Mathematical World Pictures” in freshmen—A survey]. Journal für Mathematik-Didaktik, 15(3), 211–251.Google Scholar
  38. Žalská, J. (2012). Mathematics teachers’ mathematical beliefs: A comprehensive review of international research. Scientia in Educatione, 3(1), 45–65.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Centre of Mathematics Education, Faculty of MathematicsAutonomous University of GuerreroChilpancingoMexico

Personalised recommendations