Teachers' and students' perceptions about classroom-based speaking tests and their washback
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Testing is an indispensable part of the teaching and learning processes. Since testing, teaching, and learning are closely related, it is inevitable for them to have an influence on each other. Tests are thought to affect teaching and learning positively or negatively. Direct testing is seen to have greater effect on productive and receptive skills than other tests do. Speaking skills is one of the English language skills which is tested through direct tests. While the washback effect of worldwide or nationwide tests has been studied to a great extent, the washback effect of speaking tests has received little attention from researchers. As for the washback effect of classroombased speaking tests, the researcher has not been able to find one. This present study mainly aimed to investigate teachers‟ and students‟ perceptions of the washback effects of classroom-based speaking tests. In addition, since the subject is closely related to teachers' and students' attitudes towards and beliefs about teaching and testing speaking, these issues were also addressed. The study was conducted at Akdeniz University School of Foreign Languages in Antalya, Turkey with 307 preparatory class intermediate level students and 45 instructors of English. The data were collected through teacher and student questionnaires and teacher and student interviews. The results revealed that teachers stated that they are not influenced by the speaking tests in terms of what they do in classes, but they have positive attitudes towards teaching and testing speaking and they believe that speaking tests have a positive effect on their students‟ speaking ability. Teachers and students believe that getting ready for speaking tests improves the general speaking skills of students. Students are also quite positive towards teaching and testing speaking and speaking tests‟ positive effects. The students and instructors think that these speaking tests should remain as a component of all the exams. Moreover, the students think that speaking tests‟ weight should be increased. The curriculum development department and testing office of Akdeniz University School of Foreign Languages can utilize the results of the current study in order to create more positive washback.