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Development and validation of a practical classroom assessment of students’ conceptions about differing historical accounts


D. Kevin O’Neill

Sheryl Guloy

Fiona MacKellar

Dale Martelli


History teachers in multicultural societies are increasingly responsible for facilitating students’ awareness of and understanding of multiple accounts of the same, or related past events. The primary goal of the Historical Account Differences questionnaire is to help history teachers assess their own students’ beliefs about why accounts can differ, and the effectiveness of lessons and units aimed at developing students’ epistemological conceptions about such accounts. The theoretical underpinnings, design and validation of the questionnaire are discussed. As part of the validation, responses were provided by 899 Canadian students from 8th grade through postsecondary studies. Findings failed to support the hypothesis of strict stage-like progression in students’ conceptions claimed by the developmental theory on which the instrument was based. However, other claims implicit in the theory were supported. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. 


Classroom assessment, epistemological conceptions, historical accounts, history teaching, developmental theories, dimensional theories

How to Cite:

O’Neill, D. K., Guloy, S., MacKellar, F. M., Martelli, D. R. (2022). Development and validation of a practical classroom assessment of students’ beliefs about differing historical accounts. Historical Encounters, 9(1), 58-77.


  • Published 15 April 2022

  • Double Blind Peer Reviewed

  • Author Retains Copyright

  • Distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License

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