Student Test Activity: English Majors

  • Dawn Karen Booth
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 12)


This chapter presents an in-depth qualitative analysis of the test activity of two English major students (two of the thirteen case studies described in Chap.  6). Through the framework of Activity Theory (established in Chap.  5) and the process of axial coding, this chapter explores the type of goals that motivated students to prepare for the TOEIC, the type of learning contexts they participated in, the type of operations and strategies they engaged in, and the overall outcomes of their test preparation. Each case study begins with a profile of the participant and follows with a theme-based analysis of the goals, actions, operations and outcomes of their test activity. Results reveal ways in which English majors may be influenced by their major when engaging in test preparation for the TOEIC, and at the same time, similar to students with majors other than English (Chap.  7), any number of factors may influence the outcomes of a student’s test activity. To this end, as discussed in the remaining chapters of this book, a greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in the process of washback is one that explores the micro and macro levels of situated learner activity.


Activity theory Qualitative analysis TOEIC Washback Goals Motivation Factors Results Learning contexts Strategies Content focus Outcomes Axial coding Themes 


  1. Shih, C. M. (2007). A new washback model of students’ learning. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 64(1), 135–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn Karen Booth
    • 1
  1. 1.AucklandNew Zealand

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