• Washback and writing assessment

      Green, Anthony; University of Bedfordshire (2012-03-15)
    • Washback in language assessment

      Green, Anthony (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012-11-05)
      “Washback” (alternatively“backwash”) is a term used in education to describe the influence, whether beneficial or damaging, of an assessment on the teaching and learning that precedes and prepares for that assessment. Over the past thirty years, washback, often conceived as one instance of “impact” or the range of effects, that assessment may have on society more generally, has become established as a popular topic for applied linguistics research. Studies have covered a variety of contexts from national and international tests administered to millions of test takers to the classroom assessment practices of individual teachers. Researchers have employed a range of methods including small-scale observational studies and much more extensive questionnaire surveys, often making use of mixed methods to access different perspectives on the issues. These have revealed washback to be a complex phenomenon, closely associated with and affected by established practices, beliefs and attitudes. Although test developers increasingly recognize the importance of washback and impact in evaluating assessment use, it remains to be fully integrated into standard validation practice.
    • Washback to learning outcomes: a comparative study of IELTS preparation and university pre-sessional language courses

      Green, Anthony (Taylor & Francis, 2007-04-25)
      This study investigated whether dedicated test preparation classes gave learners an advantage in improving their writing test scores. Score gains following instruction on a measure of academic writing skills—the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic writing test—were compared across language courses of three types; all designed for international students preparing for entry to UK universities. Course types included those with a test preparation focus, those designed to introduce students to academic writing in the university setting and those combining the two. In addition to IELTS academic writing test scores, data relating to differences in participants and practices across courses were collected through supplementary questionnaire and test instruments. To take account of the large number of moderating variables and non-linearity in the data, a neural network approach was used in the analysis. Findings indicated no clear advantage for focused test preparation.
    • What counts as ‘responding’? Contingency on previous speaker contribution as a feature of interactional competence

      Lam, Daniel M. K. (Sage, 2018-05-10)
      The ability to interact with others has gained recognition as part of the L2 speaking construct in the assessment literature and in high- and low-stakes speaking assessments. This paper first presents a review of the literature on interactional competence (IC) in L2 learning and assessment. It then discusses a particular feature – producing responses contingent on previous speaker contribution – that emerged as a de facto construct feature of IC oriented to by both candidates and examiners within the school-based group speaking assessment in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) English Language Examination. Previous studies have, similarly, argued for the importance of ‘responding to’ or linking one’s own talk to previous speakers’ contributions as a way of demonstrating comprehension of co-participants’ talk. However, what counts as such a response has yet to be explored systematically. This paper presents a conversation analytic study of the candidate discourse in the assessed group interactions, identifying three conversational actions through which student-candidates construct contingent responses to co-participants. The thick description about the nature of contingent responses lays the groundwork for further empirical investigations on the relevance of this IC feature and its proficiency implications.
    • What is a John Swales?

      Hamp-Lyons, Liz (Elsevier Ltd, 2015-09-03)
      Editorial
    • Why researching EAP practice?

      Hamp-Lyons, Liz (Elsevier Ltd, 2018-01-08)
    • Working for washback from university entrance tests in Japan

      Green, Anthony; University of Bedfordshire (2013-07-11)
    • Writing: the re-construction of language

      Davidson, Andrew (Elsevier, 2018-09-13)
      This paper takes as its point of departure David Olson’s contention (as expressed in The Mind on Paper, (2016) CUP, Cambridge) that writing affords a meta-representation of language through allowing linguistic elements to become explicit objects of awareness. In so doing, a tradition of suspicion of writing (e.g. Rousseau and Saussure) that sees it as a detour from and contamination of language is disarmed: writing becomes innocent, becomes naturalised. Also disarmed are some of the concerns given rise to by the observation made in the title of Per Linell’s book of a ‘written language bias in linguistics’ (2005, Routledge, London) with its attendant criticisms of approaches (e.g. Chomsky’s) that assume written language to be transparent to the putative underlying natural object. Taking Chomsky’s position (an unaware scriptism) as a representative point of orientation and target of critique, the paper assembles evidence that problematises the first-order, natural reality of cardinal linguistic constructs: phonemes, words and sentences. It is argued that the facticity of these constructs is artefactual and that that facticity is achieved by way of the introjection of ideal objects which the mind constructs as denotations of elements of an alphabetic writing system: the mental representation of language is transformed by engagement with writing and it is this non-natural artefact to which Structuralist/Generativist linguistics has been answering. Evidence for this position from the psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic literature is presented and discussed. The conclusion arrived at is that the cultural practice of literacy re-configures the cognitive realisation of language. Olson takes writing to be a map of the territory; however, it is suggested that the literate mind re-constructs the territory to answer to the features of the map.