Washback from the Bottom-Up: A Grounded Theory

Seyyed Ali Ostovar-Namaghi


Theory-driven wash back studies inculcate the view that tests are the only causal factor determining what teachers and students do and as such ignore other local constraints. This data-driven study aims at filling in the gap in the wash back knowledge-base by conceptualizing teachers’ perceptions of the university entrance exam (UEE) in Iran. In line with grounded theory, theoretically relevant concepts were sampled from qualitative interviews with experienced language teachers who were willing to share their views with the researcher. Iterative data collection and analysis revealed: (1) a set of local conditions that that make teachers shift away from language teaching towards preparing students for the UEE; (2) how the UEE deprives the nation from professional workforce by deprofessionalizing language teachers and producing a hose of communicatively incompetent high school graduates; and (3) data-driven suggestions for reform.


Wash back, grounded theory, deprofessionalization, local conditions, communicatively-incompetent

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.6p.212


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