Teachers' Assessment Literacy and Washback Effect of Assessment

Niveen R. M. Elshawa, Chan Swee Heng, Ain Nadzimah Abdullah, Sabariah Md. Rashid


Assessment literacy, as a term, is not well known in the educational field. This is unfortunate because teachers' assessment knowledge and competence can have an important influence on the way they teach and the way their students learn.  The relationship between the degree of assessment literacy a teacher has and the washback of this type of assessment is not clearly identified, especially in higher education context.  In view of this gap, this article attempts to examine important assessment literacy issues in relation to student learning: definition and importance of assessment literacy, assessment in higher education and assessment practices through reviewing related studies. The review pinpoints the harmful effects of being assessment illiterate for both teachers and students.



Assessment, assessment literacy, student learning, washback

Full Text:



Alderson, C., & Hamp-Lyons, L. (1996). TOEFL Preparation Courses: A Study of Washback. Language Testing 13(3), 280-297.

Arshad Samad. (2004). Essentials of Language Testing for Malaysian Teachers. Malaysia, UPM Press.

Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. (1996). Language Testing in Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Biggs, J. (1999). Teaching for quality learning at university. Buckingham: Oxford University Press.

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.

Brown, H. D. (2004). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices. NY: Longman

Cain, N. (2005). EFL examination washback in Japan: Investigating the effects of oral assessment on teaching and learning. Master Dissertation. Retrieved from: http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/Thesis_ Washback_in_Japan_Caine.pdf

Cheng, L. (1999). Changing assessment: washback on teacher perceptions and actions. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15, 253-271.

Cheng, L. (2004). The washback effect of a public examination change on teacher’s perceptions towards their classroom teaching. In L. Cheng, Y. Watanabe, & A. Curtis (Eds.), Washback in language testing: Research contexts and methods. (pp.1147-1170). Malwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Cheng, L., Rodgers, W., & Wang, X. (2008). Assessment purposes and procedures in ESL/EFL classrooms. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(1), 9-32.

Dahan, H. B. (2002). Language Testing: Construction and Validation. Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaysia Press.

Damankesh M., Babaii E. (2015). The washback effect of Iranian high school final examinations on students' test-taking and test-preparation strategies. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 45(1), 62-69. doi: http // 10.1016/j.stueduc.2015.03.009

Green, A. (2007). Washback to learning outcomes: a comparative study of IELTS preparation and university pre-sessional language courses. Assessment in Education, 14 (1), 75-97.

Gronlund, N. E.(1982). Constructing Achievement Tests. (3rd ed.), New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Havnes. A. (2004). Examination and learning: An activity theoretical analysis of the relationship between assessment and educational practice. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 29 (2),159-176.

Hodgman, J. (1997). The development of self- and peer-assessment strategies for a design and project-based curriculum. Ulti BASE. Retrieved from http://ultibase.rmit.edu.au/ Articles/dec97/hodgm1.htm

Holroyd, C. (2000). Are assessors professional? Active Learning in Higher Education, 1(1), 28-44

Hughes, A. (1989). Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: CUP

Jannati, S. (2015) ELT Teachers’ Language Assessment Literacy: Perceptions and Practices. IJRTE. Retrieved from: http://dergipark.ulakbim.gov.tr/ijrte/article/view/5000106872/0

James, R., McInnis, C., & Devlin, M. (2002). Assessing learning in Australian universities. Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne, Australia. From: http://www.cshe.unimelb.edu.au/assessing learning/

Kiomrs, R., Abdolmehdi, R., & Naser, R. (2011). On the interaction of test washback and teacher assessment literacy: The case of Iranian EFL secondary school teachers. English Language Teaching, 4(1). Retrieved from http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/elt/article/view/9677

McTighe, J., & O’Connor, K. (2005). Seven practices for effective learning. Educational Leadership, 63(3), 10-17.

Messick, S. (1996).Validity and washback in language testing. Language Testing 13, 243–256.

Mertler, C. & Campbell, C (2005) Teachers' Measuring and knowledge Application of Classroom Assessment Concepts: The Development of Assessment Literacy Inventory. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. April 11–15, 2005

Pan, Y. (2008). A critical review of five language washback studies from 1995-2007: Methodological considerations. JALT Testing & Evaluation SIG Newsletter. 12 (2), 2-16, Retrieved from: http://jalt.org/test/PDF/Pan1.pdf

Rust, C. (2002). The impact of assessment on student learning. Active Learning in Higher Education, 3(2), 145-158.

Sadler, D.R. (1998). Formative assessment: revisiting the territory. Assessment in Education, 5, 77-84.

Shih, C. (2007). A New Washback Model of Students' Learning. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 64 (1), 135-162.

Stiggins, R. J. (2001). The unfulfilled promise of classroom assessment. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 20(3), 5-15.

Stiggins, R. (2007). Conquering the formative assessment frontier. In J. McMillian (Ed.), Formative classroom assessment (pp.8-28).N Y: Colombia University Teachers College Press.

Wall, D., & Alderson, J. C. (1993). Examining washback: the Sri Lankan impact study. Language Testing, 10(1), 41-69

Wang, J. (2011). A study of role of the ‘teacher factor’ in washback. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of McGill, Montreal.

Webb, N. (2002). Assessment literacy in Standards-based education setting. A paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, Louisiana, April1-5.Retrieved from:http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/publications/workingpapers/Working_Paper_No_2002_4.pdf

White, E. (2009). Feature Article: Are You Assessment Literate? Some Fundamental Questions Regarding Effective Classroom-based Assessment. On CUE Journal, 3(1), 3-25.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.4p.135


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.