Assessment in engineering disciplines is typically oriented to demonstrating competence in specific tasks. Even where assessments are intended to have a formative component, little priority may be given to feedback. Engineering departments are often criticized, by their students and by external quality reviewers, for paying insufficient attention to formative assessment. The e3an project set out to build a question bank of peer-reviewed questions for use within electrical and electronic engineering. As a part of this process, a number of engineers from disparate institutions were required to work together in teams, designing a range of assessments for their subject specialisms. The project team observed that lecturers were especially keen to develop formative assessment but that their understanding of what might be required varied considerably. This paper describes the various ways in which the processes of the project have engaged lecturers in actively identifying and developing their conceptions of teaching, learning and assessment in their subject. It reports on an interview study that was conducted with a selection of participants. It is concluded that lecturers’ reflections on and understanding of assessment are closely related to the nature of the subject domain and that it is essential when attempting to improve assessment practice to start from the perspective of lecturers in the discipline.