Backwash in Higher Education: Calibrating assessment and swinging the pendulum From Summative Assessment

Abdallah GHAICHA, Youssef OUFELA


Now more than ever, there exists a plethora of empirical evidence to uphold that examinations used in educational institutions have a backwash effect, a well-recognized phenomenon among applied linguists, educators and teachers, which is the effect of test on teaching and learning (Alderson & Wall, 1993; Bailey, 1999; Messick, 1996; Widen et al., 1997; Hughes, 2003; Yi-Ching, 2009). This article essentially targets this phenomenon in Moroccan higher education. It seeks to provide a concise theoretical framework to render the reader au fait with such an unfamiliar term. It aims at examining the extent to which higher education assessments affect EFL students’ academic achievements through sketching examples from the summative assessment practices used by faculty instructors at Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, Morocco. It also aims at suggesting some pedagogical implications to harness teaching and learning in Moroccan higher education.


backwash (washback); summative assessment; higher education

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