English Language General Secondary Certificate Examination Washback in Jordan

| September 26, 2008
Title
English Language General Secondary Certificate Examination Washback in Jordan

Keywords: Washback, Examination, English, Foreign Language, Teaching, Methods

Authors
Dina Al-Jamal and Nedal Ghadi
Mu’tah University, Jordan

Bio Data
Dr. Dina Al-Jamal is currently an Assistant Professor at Mu’tah University in Jordan. She has published works on the topics of: listening strategies, peer response in writing, mentoring EFL student teachers, attitudes of EFL teachers, PC chatting, inferencing skills, communicative language teaching and society knowledge.

Mr. Nedal Ghady is currently an MA student at the EFL program at Mu’tah University in Jordan. He has research interest in evaluation and assessment in EFL.

Abstract
Washback is a common term in applied linguistics referring to the influence of testing on teaching and learning, which is a prevailing phenomenon in education. This study examined the nature and scope of the impact of the English General Secondary Certificate Examination (GSCE) on English second secondary language teachers in Al-Karak district located in Jordan. The purpose of this study was to investigate how English language teachers in Al-Karak district who teach second secondary students perceived the impact of the GSCE on their selection of teaching methods. The target population was all English language teachers teaching the second secondary class in Al-Karak District in the scholastic year 2006/2007. A survey questionnaire which consisted of (37) Likert type items was used in order to collect the required data. The questionnaire was divided into two parts. The first part of the study aimed at measuring how the GSCE affected English language teachers’ method selection in terms of four domains: activity/time arrangement, teaching methods, materials teachers would use in the classroom and content teachers would teach. The second part of the questionnaire, however, investigated the effect of other factors related to the GSCE on teachers’ method selection in terms of four domains: students’ learning attitudes, teachers’ professionalism in teaching, teachers’ perceived external pressure in teaching, and perceived importance of the GSCE. Findings of the study indicated that both the GSCE and the other related factors have affected English language teachers’ method selection with a slight statistical difference in favor of the GSCE washback effect. Another indication obtained from the study was that English language teachers in Jordan used the grammar-translation method in teaching English. The results, also, showed that two types of washback existed in secondary schools in Al-Karak namely: positive and harmful washback. In light of the results, the present study recommended that: 1) teachers’ should be provided with professional development opportunities, 2) teachers’ monitoring and evaluation policy should be reconsidered, and 3) GSCE should integrate oral language skills as well.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 10 Issue 3