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Investigating the Washback Effect of the MUET as a University Entry Test on Students in Malaysia

Mahmud, Najihah (2018) Investigating the Washback Effect of the MUET as a University Entry Test on Students in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of York.

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The influence that a test has on teaching and learning is commonly known as washback. Existing literature has acknowledged the complexity and multi-directionality of the phenomenon. This study seeks to explore the washback effect of the Malaysian University English Test (MUET), a high-stakes compulsory university entry test. Focusing on students as the main participants in this research, the issue of how Malaysian university students perceive the MUET and their own self-efficacy in relation to the test is examined. The study also investigates the washback length of the MUET, i.e. the continuation of the influence of the test even after the students have sat it. Therefore, this study aims systematically to re-examine beliefs concerning washback by investigating the relationship between the students’ perceptions of the MUET in terms of its importance and difficulty, their own self-efficacy and the language learning strategies they employ in preparing for the test. Within a mixed methods approach, a student questionnaire, student interviews and classroom observation were employed to elicit data. Data were also collected using a teacher questionnaire for triangulation purposes. In general, the findings suggest that the students’ perceptions play a major role in mediating the washback effect of the MUET, especially with regard to perceived test importance and self-efficacy. It was found that the students’ perceptions of the test shaped their goals and consequently stimulated their use of language learning strategies when preparing for the test. The findings also revealed that measuring washback length was as complicated as expected due to the difficulty of controlling for other intervening variables. It is hoped that this study will inspire more research on washback and contribute more knowledge with regard to the scarcely explored area of longer term washback.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: washback, self-efficacy, high-stakes language test
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.772984
Depositing User: Najihah Mahmud
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2019 13:58
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23745

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