First Advisor

Nike Arnold

Date of Publication

Spring 5-26-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Educational tests and measurements, English language -- Ability testing, Foreign students -- Attitudes, English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers, Academic language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 126 pages)


To determine learner attitudes toward an alternative assessment, additional washback effects, and possible relationships between cultures of learning and learner attitudes, a mixed methods study was conducted in an advanced multicultural EAP (English for Academic Purposes) class in the USA, where a poster project was implemented as a summative assessment. Qualitative and quantitative data from a pre- and post-test questionnaire as well as classroom observations and an interview with the instructor were used to investigate learners' attitudes towards the assessment. The twenty-four participants representing five cultures of learning from the Middle East, South America and Southeast Asia expressed largely positive attitudes prior to completing the poster project. After the project presentations, there was minimal change in their attitudes. The researcher identified six positive and three negative washback effects of the poster project: positive attitudes toward the poster project, self-confidence, accurate identification of the learning goal, awareness of learning, community building and cultural exchange, deeming the assessment useful, negative attitudes toward the poster project, misidentification of the learning goal, and deeming the assessment not useful. Although there was no relationship between participants' cultures of learning and their attitudes toward the poster project, their prior experience with alternative assessments may be related to their attitudes.


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