Impact of the Secondary Education Examination (English) on Students and Parents in Nepal

Dawadi, Saraswati (2019). Impact of the Secondary Education Examination (English) on Students and Parents in Nepal. PhD thesis The Open University.

Abstract

This study aimed at investigating the impact of the secondary education examination English test on students and their parents in Nepal. It was conducted with Grade 10 students (N=247) and their parents (N=6) in Nepal. It employed a mixed methods methodology comprising a longitudinal survey (pre-test and post-test survey) with students, oral diaries recorded by six students intermittently for three months and interviews with those six students and their parents both in the pre-test and post-test context. The test impacts were critically examined through the lens of critical language testing theory.

The findings suggest that the majority of students (79%) were motivated to learn English in the pre-test context, but not in the post-test context. Most students and their parents had positive attitudes towards the test fairness and accuracy in the pre-test context but they considered the test to be unfair and inaccurate in the post-test context. They reported feeling extremely anxious about the test and under enormous pressure to raise test scores. The test had huge impact on learning English; students’ learning was limited to the test contents and they rarely used the strategies that develop their English language skills. Parents provided any possible support to their children for the test preparation. They even tended to coerce their children to use certain strategies for the test preparation and to work very hard for the test. However, individual differences were observed in each case.
Despite the fact that the test supported students to study the subject of their choice at higher secondary level, the overwhelming majority of students had difficulty in learning different subjects taught through English at Grade 11. Thus, the study provided a set of implications for teaching English in an English as a foreign language context along with some recommendations for the improvement of the test and for future research.

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