‘Impact of Washback in English as Second Language Classrooms – An Investigation in the University of Jaffna – Sri Lanka’ by Dr M Saravanapava Iyer


The manner in which public or in-house examinations affect teaching and learning processes in English as Second Language (ESL) classrooms is normally explained as “washback” or “backwash” (These terms are interchangeably used to denote the same meaning). Currently a large number of definitions have been suggested by language scholars for the notion “washback” right through the accessible researches and relevant literatures on ESL language testing. In this paper I prefer to employ the term “washback” alone to interpret the same situation. At the beginning, the present study attempts to focus on range of definitions of washback. Thereafter, it tries to recognize the parallel terms introduced by other language researchers; after having adequate discussion and reviewing on different definitions, the researcher’s ultimate aim of this paper is to introduce new views on washback with correct pedagogical implications for ESL practitioners; this fresh insight relevant to washback effect on teaching and learning process is doubtlessly believed to help language practitioners to implement the ESL programme effectively. The research method applied for this investigation is based on ethnographic perspective qualitative research components and the subjects for this investigation were thirty Tamil medium undergraduates in the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

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