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Are Teachers Teaching to the Test? A Case Study of the College English Test (CET) in China

Li, Hongli

International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, July 2009, Vol.5(1), p.25-36 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Are Teachers Teaching to the Test? A Case Study of the College English Test (CET) in China
  • Author: Li, Hongli
  • Subjects: Teachers--Training of ; Education ; English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers ; English language--Study and teaching--Curricula ; English language--Written English ; English language--Examinations
  • Is Part Of: International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, July 2009, Vol.5(1), p.25-36
  • Description: The College English Test (CET) in China is a high-stakes standardized test to assess college students' English ability. One frequent claim against this test is that teachers may teach to the test, which could narrow the curriculum and turn regular English classes into CET coaching. This study aims to find out whether teachers are truly teaching to the test and the potential reasons involved. In order to gain deeper and more focused insight into the influence of the CET on classroom teaching, only its writing section was examined.Based on data collected from some students and teachers at a University in Beijing, China, it was found that the overall influence of the CET writing was not as substantial as what has been claimed. Due to different stakeholders' perceptions of the CET, the influence on teachers was weak and indirect compared to a stronger and more direct influence on students. Also, teachers did not teach to the test due to the lower priority of writing among the four language skills. The relatively low requirement of the CET writing and its restrictive testing format also prevented the teachers from teaching to the test. Finally, the teachers' lack of professional training and some logistic factors outweighed the influence of the CET writing. It is pointed out that teacher factor may outweigh the influence of the CET, and thus rigorous teacher training should be provided to improve the efficiency of classroom teaching.
  • Language: English
  • Identifier: ISSN: 1833-4105

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