Hsiao, Y. C., Lin, Y., Hung, S. T. (2018). An Investigation of the Washback Effects of an Intensive Test-Preparation Program on EFL Learning. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 15(1), 81-99. [Scopus]
An increasing number of universities in Taiwan have emphasized the importance of English proficiency tests to demonstrate students’ English ability. Universities have initiated Intensive Test-Prep Programs (ITPPs), hoping to enhance students’ English proficiency. Hence, this study aimed to explore the washback effects of an ITPP on non-English majors. Specifically, the study intended to find out how an ITPP affected non-English majors’ English learning motivation and learning strategies, and the relationship between students’ test performance and washback effects. An experimental group of 52 and a control group of 60 non-English majors were recruited from a national university. Students from the experimental group attended a five-week ITPP, which emphasized promoting students’ reading and listening skills, while the participants from the control group prepared for the proficiency test on their own. Three instruments were employed to collect the data, including questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and students’ scores from TOEIC. The results disclosed that the two groups differed statistically in motivation. Furthermore, results showed that three out of sixteen learning strategies differed significantly between the two groups: taking mock tests, reading newspapers, articles and magazines, and learning through English websites. However, the relationship between students’ test performance and washback effects was not significant. Finally, the study offers implications for non-English majors, teachers, researchers, and curriculum developers.