Assessment has a salient influence on student learning. With the introduction of the principle of “assessment for learning”, assessment practice in different education sectors, and professional and vocational education in particular, is about to change, to adopt a more formative and authentic type of assessment. However, the change is still foreign to most of the Mainland China educators who place much emphasis on getting students to achieve good examination results. Grading and selection are two of the major functions of assessment, and those of diagnosis and guidance are developing. Therefore, before offering any concrete ideas of how assessment for learning could work in a Chinese context with its examination-oriented culture, exploring teachers’ conceptions regarding assessment is meaningful. Results of a survey of 97 college lecturers of a vocational and technical institute in Hangzhou, Mainland China (Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, 杭州萬向職業技術學院) suggested their agreement that assessment improves quality of teaching and student learning and also makes schools more accountable. In contrast, the lecturers doubted whether assessment could provide valid information concerning deep learning in contrast to passing examinations. The more they agreed that assessment improves quality of teaching and student learning, the more they found it makes schools accountable; and the more they agreed that assessment provides valid information and describes student learning, the more they found it makes students accountable. The backwash effect of examination was apparent to them. Second-order factor analysis further suggested that whether they thought assessment improves quality of teaching and student learning was a different construct from whether they found that assessment provides valid information, describes student learning, and makes students and schools accountable. The paper will contribute to gaining an understanding of how effective learning and assessment can be facilitated in the professional and vocational education context in Mainland China.