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Title: The social and educational impact of the College English test in China
Author: Huang, Dayong
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 5899
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines the different uses of a large-scale and high-stakes national English test in China—the College English Test (CET), together with their social and educational impacts. The research takes a multi-method, qualitative approach to collect different sources of data. The primary data were drawn from a series of face-to-face in-depth interviews with university students, lecturers, administrators, employers, a test designer and a bookseller. Other supporting data were collected through observations, email interviews, and a variety of documentary and online sources. The data show that the CET results have been used for both intended and unintended purposes by intended and unintended users. The main focus of the study is on the test takers—the university students. It was found that the CET, through the various uses made of the results, had a significant impact on the learning of English and subjects in other disciplines in the universities. There are also significant influences on test takers’ ethical conduct and their fairness perceptions of both the test itself and its uses. These impacts are multifaceted and they have chain consequences. The relation between the several uses of the CET results and their impacts can be represented by a model of ‘impact introducers (test users)—impact medium (test itself)—impact context—impact receivers (e.g. test takers)’. The study provides empirical evidence that the four elements in the model play different roles in the impact processes, and the impact is reciprocal between introducers and receivers. It also shows that test uses and their impacts are mediated by a number of factors, among which contextual factors (e.g. cultural, social and economic) tend to play more significant roles than the test itself. The study concludes with a discussion of the role of the four elements in the CET impact processes from different perspectives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Second language acquisition ; English language ; Test-taking skills