ERIC Number: ED345513
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Does Washback Exist?
Alderson, J. Charles; Wall, Dianne
The concept of washback, or backwash, defined as the influence of testing on instruction, is discussed with relation to second language teaching and testing. While the literature of second language testing suggests that tests are commonly considered to be powerful determiners of what happens in the classroom, the concept of washback is not well defined. The first part of the discussion focuses on the concept, including several different interpretations of the phenomenon. It is found to be a far more complex topic than suggested by the basic washback hypothesis, which is also discussed and outlined. The literature on education in general is then reviewed for additional information on the issues involved. Very little research was found that directly related to the subject, but several studies are highlighted. Following this, empirical research on language testing is consulted for further insight. Studies in Turkey, the Netherlands, and Nepal are discussed. Finally, areas for additional research are proposed, including further definition of washback, motivation and performance, the role of educational setting, research methodology, learner perceptions, and explanatory factors. A 39-item bibliography is appended. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Nepal; Netherlands; Teaching to the Test; Turkey
Note: Paper presented at a Symposium on the Educational and Social Impacts of Language Tests, Language Testing Research Colloquium (February 1992). For a related document, see FL 020 177.