Encyclopedia of Language and Education

2008 Edition
| Editors: Nancy H. Hornberger

Washback, Impact and Consequences

  • Liying Cheng
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_186


Testing, large‐scale high‐stakes testing in particular, tends to induce consequences for its stakeholders. It is clear that “testing is never a neutral process and always has consequences” (Stobart, 2003, p. 140). Testing is a differentiating ritual for students: “for every one who advances there will be some who stay behind” (Wall, 2000, p. 500). It is well known in the field of education that there is a set of relationships, intended and unintended, positive and negative, between testing, teaching and learning. The earliest literature can possibly be traced back to Latham ( 1877) when he referred to an examination system as an “encroaching power,” and

How it influences the prevalent view of life and work among young men, and how it affects parents, teachers, the writers of educational books, and the notion of the public about education (p. 2).

Washback and impact of language testing is, however, a relatively new concept. Comparatively, there is a longer and more...


Classroom Teaching Impact Study Classroom Observation Educational Context Language Testing 
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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liying Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.A213, Faculty of EducationQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada