Qualitative Study of Iranian English University Entrance Examination in the light of Positive Washback Strategies

Hassan Kheirkhah, Behzad Ghonsooly


Washback refers to the extent to which the introduction and use of a test influences language teachers and learners to do things they would not otherwise do (Alderson and Wall, 1993, as cited in Fulcher and Davidson, 2007:224). According to the effect of examinations on what we do in the classroom, we may refer to ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ washback (Brown, 2000 & 2002). The aim of the present study is to determine whether the recent versions of the Iranian English university entrance examination have observed the criteria set for the creation and promotion of positive washback. In doing so, the last three versions of the Iranian English university entrance examination for the Humanities (IEUEEH), as the representative of such tests, were purposefully sampled and analyzed qualitatively on Brown (2000) positive washback strategies. Also, to avoid subjective analysis, where needed, through convenient sampling forty one English teachers in different parts of Mashhad (the Iranian second largest city) were interviewed on such positive washback strategies regarding (IEUEEH). Findings showed that most of the positive washback strategies had not been observed by the last three versions of the IEUEEH. Only two or three of such strategies had been fairly observed. As a result, it seems that in most cases the last three versions of the IEUEEH have negatively influenced the Iranian English language teaching and learning program.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/selt.v2n1p38


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