The Learner Factor in Washback Context: An Empirical Study Investigating the Washback of the IELTS Academic Writing Test
© Language Testing in Asia 2012
Published: 15 February 2012
This study sought to explore the perspectives of learners involved in the IELTS Academic Writing Module courses. In particular, the study explored learner perspectives of motivation, test-taking anxiety, test-taking strategies, and the expectations students bring to their courses. This study adopted a mixed methodology and collected data through questionnaires, observations, and interviews. A Multivariate Test for Repeated Measures was run to compare group means of this study at two various points in time with an interval of eight weeks in between. The results didn't indicate a statistically significant difference for the within-subjects variable of learners' perspectives, meaning that the learner perspectives' mean and change from one time to another was not noticeably significant. Further, classroom observations revealed that learners' perspectives toward the exams were not similar as they were both positive and negative, indicating that their views and practices differed. In addition, the interview demonstrated that every learner, to varying degrees, reported focusing on different tasks and activities that were included in the tests with varying behavioral patterns and perspectives, indicating a complex relationship between exams and learners' perspectives. However, Analysis of Covariance revealed significant effects for IELTS Writing Preparation course and the learners' improvements in their Writing scores.