An exploration into what promotes or hinders beneficial English test washback on teaching and learning.

Murray, Martin (2013) An exploration into what promotes or hinders beneficial English test washback on teaching and learning. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Ethical English language testing requires an ongoing effort to improve the quality of English test item design. It also requires the identification of what factors might encourage or obstruct positive washback and impact. The advantages and disadvantages of summative high-stakes English tests compared to feasible alternative forms of assessment should also be considered. For instance, an evaluative review of this research suggests the greater appropriateness of multiple medium-stakes formative English assessments over high-stakes summative English tests for students at the case study school. This case study explores the washback phenomenon and related impact phenomenon at one CMI (Chinese Medium of Instruction) secondary school in Hong Kong in order to find out what promotes or hinders beneficial English test washback and impact on teaching and learning at this
school and includes a comparison between a new and a long established high-stakes English test. Another focus of this research is the lower academic performance and lower English language proficiency levels of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. A total of 256 student participants completed questionnaires; 147 student participants took part in group interviews; and 7 teacher participants took part in individual interviews. A total of 23 lesson observations occurred as well as one English SBA (School-based Assessment) assessing session and one group tutorial. Key findings include a crucial need for English teachers who prepare students for high-stakes English tests to be aware of what pedagogical practices will maximise their students’ chances of success in what can be a very stressful and even traumatic experience. Some examples of detrimental washback and
impact were identified including some instances of narrowing of the curriculum and some instances of an increased focus on lower order cognitive skills such as rote learning and memorisation. Examples of beneficial washback and impact were identified including some instances of a wide variety of English learning experiences being encouraged and much enhanced both by English teachers who knew how to scaffold their students’ use of lower and higher order cognitive skills in ways that encouraged a creative use of English and English SBA (School-based Assessment). Finally, English SBA (School-based Assessment) was found to be a much sharper tool and to have a more immediate ability to enhance the quality of English teaching and the learning experiences of students by more actively engaging students in the learning process than high-stakes English tests.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Education (EdD) thesis.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Supervisors: O'Neill, Professor Shirely; Park, Dr Sang-Soon; Young, Dr Kathryn
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2016 02:49
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2016 01:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: CMI; EFL; high-stakes tests; impact; measurement-driven instruction; washback, English,
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130199 Education systems not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130213 Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified

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