Washback Effect

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Washback or backwash refers to effects of language testing on teaching and learning (Aldersen &Wall, 1993). Positive washback has recently been recognized as one of the main criteria for developing and evaluating language tests (Bailey, 1999). Hughes (1989), however, uses the term backwash suggesting the same meaning. Despite the paramount significance of wash back, there has been relatively little empirical research done to document its exact nature or mechanisms (Bailey, 1996). As held by Bailey (1996, 264-265), faced with an important test, students may participate in (but are not limited to) any of the following processes:
1) Practicing items similar in format to those on the test.
2) Studying vocabulary and grammar rules.
3) Participating
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6). This idea of little empirical evidence for the existence of washback is also held by Andrews (1994).

Although the topic of washback effect has been discussed in language testing for many years, systematic attempts to understand the phenomenon were made only recently. The few studies on ethics and standards on the one hand have focused on the need for responsibility and accountability in language testing, and on the other hand have targeted technically appropriate procedures for test developers (Kunnan, 1998: 6-7).

Bachman (1990) asserted that it is necessary to take into account the alternatives in testing as an important area of examination of test consequences. On this line, Lynch (2001) and Shohamy (2001) have considered critical assessment and democratic practices as alternatives in assessment which considerably emphasize the potential consequences of the tests’ misuse and misinterpretation on different
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Yet, in this study, the validity and reliability of the employed questionnaire is not clear. Ying (2003), through a case study, examined the washback of the CET4 on Chinese undergraduates by investigating six cases from their first day of college study to the day before they sat the CET4. Tsagari (2011) utilizing a qualitative study, investigated washback of a high-stakes English exam on teachers’ perceptions and practices identifying factors influencing teaching and learning. Kiani, Alibakhshi, and Akbari (2009) also investigated the impacts of ESP tests on the stakeholders through a qualitative study. They indicated that ESP tests have negative psychological (anxiety, stress, disappointment, self-confidence, teaching efficacy, disappointment), social (deprivation from education, ethical issues, acceptance of nonqualified candidates), financial, and family consequences on the learners and teachers. The society is also influenced as the result of ESP tests scores. Similarly, Ramezaney (2014), through interviews, examined the nature and scope of the university entrance exam's (UEE) impact on the EFL teachers’ curricular planning and instruction techniques. The findings indicated that from the teachers' perspective, Iranian UEE has a significant influence on teachers' curricular planning and instruction techniques. Alderson and Hamp-Lyons (1996), in a study of TOEFL

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