1.1 Background of the Research
Language testing plays an indispensable role in language teaching and learning, forwhich is an essential instrument to measure the effect of teaching and the result oflearning. The two major functions of tests are, according to Bachman, “as sources ofinformation for making decisions with the contest of educational programs; and asindicators of abilities or attribute that are of interest in research on language, languageacquisition, and language teaching”. Naturally, English testing consists a keycomponent of English teaching and learning, which can check whether the Englishteaching process is reliable and valid and whether the students master the Englishlanguage knowledge as well.
Washback effect has become a hot issue in recent years. It has been applied in thefield of linguistics for years, while the scholars at home and abroad have noticed that thewashback effect of test has a great impact on teachers, students, design of the test andeven the whole education system. As a result, the scholars have paid more attention onthe washback effect, especially in the past few decades.
Although the research on the washback effect of test has become increasinglyimportant, the researchers usually focus on the large-scale tests such as NMET, IELTS,TOEFL and so on. The School-based English Test (SET) refers to the examinations heldby school itself, not by the educational administrative department, also holds a vitalposition in the English test. It is worth noting that the frequency and quality of SET isdifferent in different kinds of schools. Some schools in comparative developed city willhold more than four times a semester while schools in remote city cannot reach thisfrequency.
1.2 Purpose of the Research
The purpose of the research is to settle three questions: Firstly, what is thewashback effect of the school-based English Test on English teaching in senior highschool? More positive or more negative? Secondly, what is the difference of washbackeffect of SET among these senior high schools in three kinds of cities in Sichuanprovince? And thirdly, what useful suggestions can be drawn to instruct Englishteaching? In order to answer theses three questions, the author investigate nine schoolsin total: three schools in comparative developed city, three schools in prefecture-levelcity and three schools in remote city respectively in Sichuan province with threeresearch methods which are questionnaire, classroom observation and interview. Afterall this investigation process, the author intends to figure out the washback effect ofSET, whether it is more positive or more negative and the distinction of washback effectamong different kinds of schools. Combining with the results of analysis, the authortries to come up with some useful suggestions on the SET.
Chapter TwoLiterature Review
2.1 Definition of Washback and SET
Language testing, as an important way to get feedback on language teaching andlearning, plays an indispensable part in senior high school education since it canevaluate the teaching quality and students’ learning conditions. Therefore, an increasingnumber of researchers have looked into the influence and function of language testing,which is referred to as Washback effect as a result. According to Alderson and Wall(1993), the word “washback” and “backwash” have the same meaning in pragmatic andsemantic use, but they have gained popularity in the field of applied linguistics andliterature respectively. Besides, the word “washback” has been applied in the field oftesting more frequently, so the author choose it in this thesis.
There are various kinds of definitions of washback: it was first proposed byVermon in 1956, in which he