Washback in Language Testing
Research Contexts and Methods
Edited by Liying Cheng, Yoshinori Watanabe, WITH Andy Curtis
Routledge – 2003 – 260 pages
Washback refers to the influence of language testing on teaching and learning. This volume, at the important intersection of language testing and teaching practices, presents theoretical, methodological, and practical guidance for current and future washback studies.
In the field of language testing, researchers' major interest has traditionally been focused on issues and solving problems inherent in tests in order to increase their reliability and validity. However, the washback effect goes well beyond the test itself to include factors, such as curriculum, teacher and learner behaviors inside and outside the classroom, their perceptions of the test, and how test scores are used. Only recently have researchers started to empirically investigate the phenomenon of washback. This volume of such research serves two essential purposes by:
*providing an overview of the complexity of washback and the various contextual factors entangled within testing, teaching, and learning; and
*presenting empirical studies from around the world that offer insights into the effects of washback in specific educational contexts and models of research on which future studies can be based.
The extensive use of test scores for various educational and social purposes in society nowadays makes the washback effect a high-interest phenomenon in the day-to-day educational activities of teachers, researchers, program coordinators/directors, policymakers, and others in the field of education. Washback in Language Testing: Research Contexts and Methods is a valuable resource for those who are interested in the application of findings to actual teaching and learning situations or conduct washback research in their own contexts, including educational and psychological testing experts, as well as alternative assessment people in all fields, and for policy- and decision-makers in educational and testing organizations.
"This book is highly recommended for pre- and in-teachers interested in testing, especially pre-university English for Academic Purposes instructors, because it describes educational systems from which their students may have emerged and gives excellent read so that they are aware that high-stakes tests are not always representative of language use or enable the successful students to learn content in another language, but represent only that test's skills and language content."
"This volume successfully draws a diverse range of articles about test impact under one cover. Its eleven chapters summarize many significant language washback studies to date and suggest directions for further research."
—JALT Testing & Evaluation SIG Newsletter
"This book certainly provides a valuable overview for researchers, educators and policy-makers, demonstrating the value of obtaining data through multiple research methods in addressing this complex area….the book is a very welcome step in the emergence of washback studies and deserves to reach a wide readership."
"This topic is a hot one right now in language testing, and this book takes the topic to a new, evidence-based level….All language testers and budding language testers will need to have a copy of this book on their shelves."
University of Hawaii
"[T]he book is a valuable resource and guide for language teachers and testers and testing researchers who are interested in assessment and its washback. It is highly readable and raises very many questions that researchers might actually want to investigate in their own contexts, and will hopefully inspire some rigorous, qualitative research studies in the near future." --Rama Mathew, Delhi University, India, Journal of Language, Identity, and Education
Contents: J.C. Alderson, Foreword. L. Cheng, Y. Watanabe, A. Curtis, Preface. Part I: Concepts and Methodology of Washback. L. Cheng, A. Curtis, Washback or Backwash: A Review of the Impact of Testing on Teaching and Learning. Y. Watanabe, Methodology in Washback Studies. S. Andrews, Washback and Curriculum Innovation. Part II: Washback Studies From Different Parts of the World. B. Stecher, T. Chun, S. Barron, The Effects of Assessment-Driven Reform on the Teaching of Writing in Washington State. N. Saville, R. Hawkey, The IELTS Impact Study: Investigating Washback on Teaching Materials. B. Hayes, J. Read, IELTS Test Preparation in New Zealand: Preparing Students for the IELTS Academic Module. C. Burrows, Washback in Classroom-Based Assessment: A Study of the Washback Effect in the Australian Adult Migrant English Program. Y. Watanabe, Teacher Factors Mediating Washback. L. Cheng, The Washback Effect of a Public Examination Change on Teachers' Perceptions Toward Their Classroom Teaching. L. Qi, Has a High-Stakes Test Produced the Intended Changes? I. Ferman, The Washback of an EFL National Oral Matriculation Test to Teaching and Learning.