The Washback Effect of the General Secondary English Examination (GSEE) on Teaching and Learning

Yahya Ameen Tayeb, Mohd Sallehhudin Abd Aziz, Kemboja Ismail, Alla Baksh Mohd Ayub Khan


This paper reports on a study investigating the washback effect of the General Secondary English Examination (hereinafter referred to as GSEE), a high-stakes exit test for secondary school students (12thgrade) in Yemen. The main aim of this study is to gain preliminary insights into the relationship between teaching and learning factors affected by the washback effect. It focuses on eight pedagogical dimensions: four of them concerned the teachers (teaching methods, teaching experiences, content assessment, and beliefs) and four concerned the students (learning styles, learning activities, attitudes and motivation).  A semi-structured interview was conducted with three English teachers who have over ten years of teaching experience. Based on the interview, a questionnaire was constructed and then administered to 30 Yemeni English teachers of the 12thgrade English classes. The data were analysed using SPSS software, version 20. The results showed that the test had a great influence on the learners and teachers mainly on teaching methodology and on learning styles. Triangulation with the qualitative data confirmed the findings. Hence, the study provides a clear evidence of the washback effect of the exam on the components of the language teaching-learning processes in Yemen and its influence on what and how the teachers teach, and the learners learn. 





washback effect; 3rd secondary classes; Yemen; GSEE; stakeholders

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