Examining the Influence of the Iranian School-Leaving Test of English (ISLTE) on the Teachers’ Perceptions and Performances
This study examined both the actual and anticipated washback effect of the Iranian School-leaving tests of English (ISLTE) on teachers' perceptions and performances with a view to improving our understanding of the washback phenomenon through new empirical evidence, which is much needed for in-depth understanding of this issue. The main research purpose was to explore the nature and the scope of washback on the teachers in Iranian context. In order to achieve the purposes of the study various methodological techniques were applied in order to collect valid and reliable data. These instruments were mainly composed of male high school teachers' interviews (N=10) as well as class observations (N=10). Analysis of the data indicated that the ISLTE had strong negative washback on aspects of teaching: Evidence of negative washback was observed regarding the existence of differences between the teachers' teaching and communicative activities, that is, negative washback was reflected in teachers' translation of materials, rather than making meaning or repeatitive tasks of the lessons rather than communicative activities. The study also explored the role that contextual factors (e.g., materials, educational systems) and beliefs might play in mediating washback. The immediate implication of this study concerns the need to use a new test which addresses the communicative features of the language. Due to the huge impact of the test on teaching in the classroom; there must be a serious reviewing of the ISLTE in order to reach communicative way of teaching.
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