Washback Effects of an Interactional Competence Checklist


Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Shiraz University


The concept of interactional competence and its assessment as a complex language ability has long been a concern for research. A more recent approach to testing this construct has called for an investigation into the commonly-used concept of washback which refers to the effect of testing on teaching and learning.  This study aimed to investigate the washback effect of an interactional competence checklist on EFL teaching and learning. The study combined qualitative and quantitative research methods within a comparative design between an experimental and a control group of 27 advanced English learners. Data was collected through students’ oral performance, teacher and student surveys, the IC checklist, and classroom observations. The data were analyzed using mixed ANOVA and content analysis using coding schemes and themes to compare the scores obtained before and after the treatment. The study revealed a statistically significant difference in learners’ interactive oral performance before and after the implementation of the checklist. Results indicated positive washback in aspects including familiarity with the checklist, test quality, interpretation and use, motivation, professional development, and learners’ studying habits. The implications for the classroom are that language program administrators and curriculum designers can introduce modifications in developing materials that foreground a focus on interactional competence.


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