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The Washback Effect of the 2010 NMET (Guangdong) Reform on Listening and Speaking Teaching in Rural Senior High Schools

Author HuangLiMei
Tutor SuYuanLian
School Guangzhou University
Course Subject Teaching
Keywords listening and speaking reform NMET washback effect teaching
CLC G634.41
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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This thesis investigates how the changes in the 2010 NMET listening and speaking reform, a high-stakes national examination, will influence listening and speaking classroom teaching in the rural senior high schools.The focus of the present study is to examine the washback effect of the new test reform on teaching from two aspects:the influence on teachers’attitudes towards the aspects of teaching and teachers’daily classroom teaching behaviors. Three instruments, including questionnaire, interview, and observation, were employed in the study and 362 teachers from 17 senior middle schools in the rural areas were involved.The major findings of the present study are briefly summarized as follows:First, the test reform exerted both positive and negative washback on senior middle school English classroom teaching in the rural areas. The positive washback manifested itself as follows:1) it urged senior middle school teachers to make a slight change from teaching linguistic knowledge merely to practicing language skills, etc,2) the reform did change teachers’ teaching activities in the class. The negative washback included:test preparation materials were largely used in class, especially in Grade Three classes; NMET test-taking skills rather than language use were mainly practiced; the classrooms were teacher-dominated rather than student-centered and students had few opportunities to practice language use; the skill of speaking was not put enough emphasis on, etc.Secondly, the immediate washback effect exerted by the test reform showed differences in different grades. In Grade three, classroom teaching was mainly test-oriented, and listening and speaking were practiced by mock test. Comparatively, Grade one and Grade two English classroom teaching put more emphasis on language use, and listening and speaking were mainly practiced and taught in the format of the test.

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