Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Jessaca Spybrook

Third Advisor

Dr. Julia Reynolds


Assessment, assessment literacy, middle level, balanced assessment, assessment knowledge, assessment practice


This case study research examined middle level teachers’ current assessment practices within one Midwest suburban district, by utilizing a survey entitled Assessment Literacy Inventory for Classroom Educators (A.L.I.C.E.), designed to parallel the Standards for Teacher Competence in the Educational Assessment of Students (1990).

Previous research describes the importance of assessments, the critical role of a highly quality teacher in constructing and integrating assessments; however, the research was relatively devoid of studies describing the frequency with which teachers utilize various assessments and knowledge regarding a district’s assessment context.

Results revealed that most middle level teachers in this district did not have a college class on assessment in their undergraduate or graduate preparation. Nearly one-half of these teachers received at least 11 hours of district professional development on assessment, and about one-quarter received an additional 13 or more hours. Despite such training, as well as access to instructional coaches and monthly staff and professional learning community meetings, these teachers did not report having a sound understanding of assessment terminology, and most still used predominately traditional classroom measures, including oral response, graded homework, teacher observation and paper and pencil tests. Across the 94 teacher respondents, 40 different approaches to awarding final grades to a student were reported. While many elements of a local balanced assessment program exist, the district still faces implementation issues.

This study also determined that the amount of teacher training explains 17% of the variability in classroom assessment practices, while teachers’ assessment knowledge explains 38% of such variability in assessment practices, and 27% in the variability of assessment communication practices.

The amount of teacher training did not significantly predict teachers’ assessment knowledge or assessment communication practices The findings in this study support previous research findings that most teachers have received no formal assessment coursework. It also reveals the difficulty in impacting the assessment practices and knowledge of teachers, despite significant training and district-level supports. Overall, this research provides practical insights for school district and higher education leaders on assessment literacy practices in middle level classrooms.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access