What Drives High School English Teachers to Teach the Way They do? An Investigation of the Washback Effect of the University Entrance Examination in Iran

Masoomeh Taqizadeh, Parviz Birjandi


It has often been argued that the university entrance examination (UEE) in Iran dominates the whole educational process in high schools, including the practice of EFL and washback effect of the test has been considered to be a negative one. However, these arguments have not been the subject of empirical research. Therefore, this study aimed to shed light on the matter with reference to high school English teachers. For this purpose, ten English classrooms were observed for two sessions to get insights into what really happens in the classrooms, and how teachers are affected by the UEE. Besides, in order to delve into the teachers' beliefs behind the token approaches in teaching, thirteen teachers were interviewed. Classroom observations proved grammar-translation method to be the dominant methodology in all classrooms. Interview with teachers also suggested UEE as one of the driving forces behind what teachers do in their language classrooms. However, further studies, including more teachers and longitudinal observations of their classrooms, are suggested.


washback, teaching methodology, high-stakes test

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