An Overview of Studies Conducted on Washback, Impact and Validity

Forough Rahimi, Mohammad Reza Esfandiari, Mansour Amini, Mansour Amini


This article aimed at presenting a comprehensive overview of three interrelated concepts of washback, impact and validity in language testing and a myriad of studies conducted at different places to investigate the influence of testing on teachers and teaching, textbooks, learners and learning, attitudes toward testing, test preparation behaviors, etc.. Some of these studies present the results of various investigations on the influence of a national English examination on the local English language teaching and learning due to its high-stakes nature in particular countries such as Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Israel, Japan, Romania, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. Some others cover a wide range of worldwide investigation on English testing such as the IELTS, TOEFL, and MECC. Moreover, there is a complete report of several important projects appointed by major testing agencies such as Cambridge ESOL and Educational Testing Services (ETS) on washback and impact studies. The article proceeds by reviewing the relevant literature on test validation which is a key concept in language testing domain since it is concerned with test interpretation and use. This domain is characterized and enriched by studies of washback and impact.


Washback; Impact; Validity

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