The Power of General English Proficiency Test on Taiwanese Society and Its Tertiary English Education

  • Shwu-Wen Lin


Reacting to the government’s policies to increase Taiwanese university students’ international competitiveness by raising their English proficiency, universities in Taiwan have set up a graduation requirement of English proficiency in recent years. This chapter reports on how the implementation of the English graduation requirement has affected the university students and the English curriculum. The requirement accepts scores from various English proficiency tests as proof of proficiency, instead of one particular test. Thus, the findings of this study have implications as to what determines the strongest washback that any language test can have in the context of multiple tests existing and competing for influence.


Proficiency Test English Proficiency English Learning Language Test English Language Proficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alderson, J.C. & Hamp-Lyons, L. (1996). TOEFL preparation courses: A study of washback. Language Testing, 13(3), 280–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alderson, J.C. & Wall, D. (1993). Does washback exist? Applied Linguistics, 14(2), 115–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheng, L. (1997). How does washback influence teaching? Implications for Hong Kong. Language and Education, 11(1), 38–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cheng, L. (2005). Changing language teaching through language testing: A washback study, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cheng, L., Watanabe, Y. & Curtis, A. (2004). Washback in language testing: Research contexts and methods, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Chen, L. (2002). Taiwanese junior high school English teachers’ perceptions of the washback effect of the Basic Competence Test in English. Unpublished PhD thesis, College of Education, The Ohio State University, Ohio, United States.Google Scholar
  7. Council of Europe (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: learning, teaching and assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gates, S. (1995). Exploiting washback from standardized tests. In J. Brown & S. Yamashita, eds. Language testing in Japan. (pp. 101–106). Tokyo: Japan Association for Language Teaching.Google Scholar
  9. Green, A. (2006). Washback to the learner: Learner and teacher perspectives on IELTS preparation course expectations and outcomes. Assessing Writing, 11(2), 113–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. GEPT Research Highlights, 2013. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 March 2014].
  11. Madaus, G. (1988). The influence of testing on the curriculum. In L. Tanner, ed. Critical issues in curriculum (pp. 83–121). Chicago, Illinois: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  12. McNamara, T.F. & Roever, C. (2006). Language testing: The social dimension, Malden, MA and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Shih, C.M. (2006). Perceptions of the general English proficiency test and its wash-back: A case study at two Taiwan technological institutes. Unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  14. Shih, C.M. (2007). A new washback model of students’ learning. Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue Canadienne des Langues Vivantes, 64(1), 135–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Shih, C.M. (2008). The General English Proficiency Test. Language Assessment Quarterly, 5(1), 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Shih, C.M. (2010). The washback of the General English Proficiency Test on university policies: A Taiwan case study. Language Assessment Quarterly, 7(3), 234–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Shohamy, E., Donitsa-Schmidt, S. & Ferman, I. (1996). Test impact revisited: Washback effect over time. Language Testing, 13(3), 298–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Stecher, B., Chun, T. & Barron, S. (2004). The effects of assessment-driven reform on the teaching of writing in Washington state. In L. Cheng, Y. Watanabe & A. Curtis, eds. Washback in Language Testing: Research context and methods (pp. 53–72). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Tsai, Y. & Tsou, C.H. (2009). A standardised English Language Proficiency test as the graduation benchmark: student perspectives on its application in higher education. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 16(3), 319–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Vongpumivitch, V. (2010). The General English Proficiency Test. In L. Cheng & A. Curtis, eds. English language assessment and the Chinese learner (pp. 158–172). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Wall, D. (1996). Introducing new tests into traditional systems: Insights from general education and from innovation theory. Language Testing, 13(3), 334–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wall, D. & Alderson, J.C. (1993). Examining washback: The Sri Lankan impact study. Language Testing, 10(1), 41–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Watanabe, Y. (1996). Does grammar translation come from the entrance examination? Preliminary findings from classroom-based research. Language Testing, 13(3), 318–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Watanabe, Y. (2001). Does the university entrance examination motivate learners? A case study of learner interviews. In A. Murakami, ed., Trans-Equator Exchanges: A Collection of Academic Papers in Honour of Professor David Ingram (pp. 100–110). Akita, Japan: Akita University.Google Scholar
  25. Watanabe, Y. (2004a). Methodology in washback studies. In L. Cheng, Y. Watanabe & A. Curtis, eds. Washback in language testing: Research context and methods (pp. 19–38). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  26. Watanabe, Y. (2004b). Teacher factors mediating washback. In L. Cheng, Y. Watanabe & A. Curtis, eds. Washback in language testing: Research context and methods (pp. 129–146). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Woods, D. and Fassnacht, C. (2012). Transana v2.50. Madison, WI: The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
  28. Wu, R., & Chin, J. (2006). An impact study of the Intermediate-Level GEPT. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on English Language Testing in Asia, Taipei, 41–65.Google Scholar
  29. Zhang, R. & Tu, Y. (2007). 國內技專校院學生英語能力畢業門檻現況與省思 [The English graduation requirement for students in domestic universities and colleges of technological and vocational education, the present state and review]. Cross-Strait Technological and Vocational Education Conference. Taichung: Chaoyuang University of Technology.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Shwu-Wen Lin 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shwu-Wen Lin

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations