Investigating the washback effect of the national examination on Indonesian practices: Perceptions of teachers, students and parents of test impact

Puspitasari, Maya (2020) Investigating the washback effect of the national examination on Indonesian practices: Perceptions of teachers, students and parents of test impact. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Washback is a phenomenon found internationally in high stakes examinations. This study set in Indonesia sought to explore the washback influence of the national examination system on the attitudes, behaviours and motivations of teachers, learners and parents (Pearson, 1998). Previous studies on national examination in Indonesia had explored the concept without paying sufficient attention to the context and culture within which washback takes place; a culture where examination corruption remains professionally unacknowledged but all too often remains part of practice.
Using an interpretivist paradigm this study explored the perceptions of the experiences of teachers, learners and parents involved in the national examination system and identified its washback effect. In particular it explored ways in which the national examination affected teaching and learning practices in final year classrooms that in Indonesia are dominated by the national examination cycle. Finally, the study investigated how students‘ experiences in the national examination year might be improved.
The evidence emerging from the thematic analysis of interviews with eight English teachers, ten parents and focus group discussions with 29 final year students attending junior secondary schools identified three main washback themes. The national examination had influenced participants‘ feelings, their perceptions and their practices. All participating groups had participants who reported a wide range of feelings about their experiences of national examination, from neutral feelings to high levels of anxiety. The analysis also indicated that participants in each group had recognised both the positive and negative washback effects of national examination. The use of the examination for selection purposes was perceived to motivate students to learn. However, the findings also suggested that the national examination was considered by members of each group to assess students in ways that were regarded as unfair. All three groups showed how the examination influenced their role and practices as teachers, students and parents. However, although members of both parental and pupil communities made reference to a number of corrupt practices, no teacher acknowledged such practice focusing only on the more conventional washback effects of curriculum narrowing and rehearsal pedagogy.
The evidence from this study was used to extend a model of the relationship between learning and assessment theory proposed by Baird, (2017). Only when there is an adequate consideration of the culture within which these theories emerge can there be potential for these theories to have traction in offering a lens through which to interrogate practice. Finding ways to engage with features of Indonesian school culture including anxiety, religion, family expectations, corruption, gender inequality and collectivism is a central part of understanding the nature of national examination washback. Without a deeper understanding and acceptance of the problem, Indonesia, and other countries in similar circumstances, is likely to remain in a cycle of constant innovation with little meaningful, constructive change in the assessment process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: washback, Indonesia, high-stakes test
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Funder's Name: Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture
Supervisor's Name: Hayward, Prof. E. Louise and Odena, Dr. Oscar
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mrs. Maya Puspitasari
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81300
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2020 10:22
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2022 08:04
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81300

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