Washback Effects Of Exams On English Language Learning: An Analysis Of PEC English Question Papers In Pakistan

Main Article Content

Dr. Naveed-Ur-Rehman Khattak , Dr. Sohaib Sultan , Dr. Afia Kanwal


Washback effect is the impact that tests have on teaching and learning, and are instructions to the notion that test should drive learning (Sohamy,1993). In Pakistan it has generally been observed that the exams papers do not assess and evaluate English language skills of the learners. The current study has analyzed the content of the English question papers of 5th and 8th grade of PEC, identified the language skills that are assessed in these English papers and investigated the washback effects of these question papers on the learning of English language of 5th and 8th grade students. By employing quantitative research methods, the data for the study was collected in two modes that included five years i.e. 2014 – 2018 PEC English exam question papers of grade 5 and 8 and a survey of the washback effects of these exam via a close-ended questionnaire. The questions in the exam papers of PEC were analyzed as per the dimensions in Bloom’s Taxonomy, whereas, the data obtained via the close-ended questionnaires was statistically analyzed. The study has revealed that in both 5th and 8th grade PEC English exam papers primary focus is on developing two levels of learning i.e. knowledge, and application that develop rote-learning thus become impediment in using English language in meaningful contexts. PEC English exam papers only test the reading and writing skills that have negative washback effects on the linguistic competence of the learners. In English, as a second language in Pakistan, learners need to be tested for all the skills, as the testing of only reading and writing and neglecting the testing of listening and speaking results in partial language learning.

Article Details