Factors affecting washback of a high-stakes English as a foreign language test

Dawadi, Saraswati (2021). Factors affecting washback of a high-stakes English as a foreign language test. The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 25(3) pp. 1–16.

URL: https://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej99/a1.pdf

Abstract

The effect of high-stakes language tests on teaching and learning a language is usually known as washback. The true nature of test washback can be understood only by taking account of the educational, cultural, political and social contexts in which the test operates. Nevertheless, little research has explored the factors that affect the nature of washback. This paper reports on a study that explored the factors that affect the washback of the Secondary Education Examination (SEE) English test on students and parents in Nepal. The data generated through oral diaries (n=72) and semi-structured interviews with students and their parents (n=24) indicate that several factors including economic factors, social prestige associated with the test performance, parents’ educational background, and perceived importance of English affect the nature of a high-stakes tests’ washback. Finally, some of the pressing policy, pedagogical and research implications are discussed.

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