Portuguese university students’ conceptions of assessment: taking responsibility for achievement

  • Maria Assunção FloresEmail author
  • Gavin Brown
  • Diana Pereira
  • Clara Coutinho
  • Patrícia Santos
  • Cláudia Pinheiro


After 20 years of the Bologna Declaration, Portuguese universities claim to be implementing student-centred and involved assessment practices. Student conceptions of assessment matter when innovations and reforms in assessment practices are being implemented. This study is part of a larger research project entitled “Assessment in higher education: the potential of alternative methods” funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Government Funding Agency) (PTDC/MHCCED/2703/2014). This paper surveys a large sample (N = 5549) of Portuguese students in five public universities with a Portuguese version of the Students Conceptions of Assessment (SCoA-VI) inventory, previously validated in Brazil. Confirmatory factor analysis recovered the eight SCoA factors reported in the Brazilian context. Differences in mean score for the eight factors were trivial for institutional and student factors. Overall, students agreed that assessment for student improvement was not ignored. Scale inter-correlations revealed interesting inverse relations between improvement and irrelevance functions.


Conceptions of assessment Higher education Students’ conceptions Improvement Accountability 



Statistical assistance was provided by Anran Zhao, a doctoral candidate at The University of Auckland, with funding from the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Funding information

The project reported in this paper was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Government Funding Agency) (PTDC/MHCCED/2703/2014) and co-financed by European Regional Development Funds (FEDER), Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Program (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007562).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Assunção Flores
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gavin Brown
    • 2
  • Diana Pereira
    • 1
  • Clara Coutinho
    • 1
  • Patrícia Santos
    • 1
  • Cláudia Pinheiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre on Child Studies (CIEC), Institute of EducationUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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