Washback Effect of General English Test of Ph.D. Entrance Exam on Science and Humanities Students: Perceptions and Practices

Document Type: Research Article


University of Isfahan


Testing holds an important place in the Iranian test-oriented context where the entrance examinations have serious educational and occupational outcomes. This study aimed to explore the potential washback effects of the General English Language Test of the Ph.D. (GELTP) as part of the Ph.D. University Entrance Examination (PUEE) on the humanities and science students’ perceptions and practices. The study also examined the students’ language learning needs to examine the correspondence between the test-taker’s language needs as well as the GELTP requirement and content. To this end, the data were collected through conducting interviews with 16 Ph.D. students and the administration of a questionnaire to 560 students. Results revealed minor differences in the GELTP washback effects across the science and humanities perceptions and practices. Moreover, the findings showed some mismatch between the test-takers’ language needs and the test content that affected negatively the test washback effects. Findings can have implications for raising the education and assessment authorities’ awareness to employ the students’ feedbacks in designing and modifying high-stakes tests.


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