Assessment Culture Versus Testing Culture: The Impact on Assessment for Learning

Menucha Birenbaum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, I contrast two school cultures—assessment culture (AC) and testing culture (TC)—and examine their potential to support or inhibit assessment for learning. First, I compare the two cultures with regard to the mindset that each culture reflects and then with regard to classroom learning, teacher professional learning, and leadership, addressing their interrelationships and their effects on formative school-based assessment. I further compare the impact of external accountability tests on AC and TC schools. In the discussion, I contrast the schools with regard to an underlying dimension of internal coherence, addressing the conditions that foster and those that hinder such coherence. I then explain why AC, as opposed to TC, is conducive to the successful implementation of assessment for learning, and identify the challenges in transforming a TC into an AC. I conclude with recommendations to guide such a transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnabling Power of Assessment
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameEnabling Power of Assessment
ISSN (Print)2198-2643
ISSN (Electronic)2198-2651


  • Classroom Learning
  • Collective Efficacy
  • Lesson Study
  • Professional Development
  • Testing Culture


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