A Study of the Washback Effects of a Standardised Test on the EFL Context


This study determines the washback effects of the TOEIC on EFL learning and instruction in South Korean hagwons or private cram schools. It uses a sequential mixed-method design involving both quantitative and qualitative components. Firstly, a quantitative survey was conducted on a sample of 103 students and 22 teachers. The teachers and students were given separate questionnaires comprising Likert-style items with possible responses on a scale of 1 to 5. The sample of participants was selected using a non-random convenience sampling method. All the participants were selected from the researcher’s professional and personal networks. The survey was followed by in-depth qualitative interviews of seven students and six teachers who consented to be interviewed. The results of the survey were codified and the percentage of affirmative, neutral, and negative responses were calculated. These quantitative results were triangulated with the themes that emerged from the analysis of the qualitative interviews. Consequently, this study provided several insightful observations about the positive and negative washback effects of the TOEIC on EFL learning and instruction. In particular, it was found that EFL teachers in Korean private schools or hagwons tend to “teach to the test” instead of aiming to improve the students’ overall competence in English. The students also spend most of their time practicing those areas of the EFL course that are emphasized by the TOEIC. Lastly, some suggestions were put forward to eliminate the negative washback effects of TOEIC on EFL learning in South Korean private schools.

Author Information
Jiin Ahn, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2022
Stream: Assessment

This paper is part of the ECLL2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Ahn J. (2022) A Study of the Washback Effects of a Standardised Test on the EFL Context ISSN: 2188-112X The European Conference on Language Learning 2022: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2188-112X.2022.14
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2188-112X.2022.14

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon