Document Type : Original Article


Department of English Language Teaching, Aliabad Katoul Branch, Islamic Azad University, Aliabad Katoul, Iran


It appears that English Proficiency Test (EPT) as a high stake test plays a key role in addressing many aspects of the educational system and individuals' lives. This paper aimed to represent Iranian non-English PhD students’ perceptions regarding their learning and testing preferences, and to investigate the relationship between educational consequences and psychological consequences of EPT among Iranian non-English PhD students. To reach the goals, two attitudinal researcher-made questionnaires developed and validated (in Persian) at five point Likert-scale format scaling from 1-5 (strongly disagree to strongly agree); subsequently, pilot study was conducted and then the instruments were distributed among 252 participants via online administration throughout Iran. The analyzed results by the software package of SPSS, version 24 showed that deep learning had the highest mean among other subscales and item 3 in testing preferences which was related to creativity hit the lowest mean score. Moreover, the results confirmed that there was a significant and positive relationship between educational consequences and psychological consequences.


Al Amin, M., & Greenwood, J. (2018). The examination system in Bangladesh and its impact: On curriculum, students, teachers and society. Language Testing in Asia, 8(4), 1-18. doi: 10.1186/s40468-018-0060-9
Amrein, A. L., & Berliner, D. C. (2003). The effects of high-stakes testing on students’ motivation and learning. Educational Leadership, 60(5), 32-38.
Bachman, L. F. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. S. (1996). Language testing in practice: Designing and developing useful language tests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.
Birenbaum, M., & Feldman, R. (1998). Relationships between learning patterns and attitudes towards two assessment formats. Educational Research, 40(1), 90-98. doi:10.1080/0013188980400109
Brown, H. D. (2004). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.
Brown, J. D. (2008). Testing in language programs: A comprehensive guide to English language assessment. Columbus: McGraw-Hill College.
Castro, M. C., & Vega, S. A. L. (2017). The impact of tests in students’ perceptions and attitudes towards their learning task (Master's thesis). Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas: Bogotá, Colombia. Retrieved from
Dhindsa, H., Omar, K., &Waldrip, B. (2007). Upper secondary bruneian science students' perceptions of assessment. International Journal of Science Education, 29(10), 1281-1280.doi: 10.1080/09500690600991149
Dinh, T. P. H. (2020). Washback of English proficiency test in classroom activities at national university of arts education. VNU Journal of Science: Education Research, 36 (1), 89-103.
Estaji, M., & Tajeddin, Z. (2012). The learner factor in washback context: An empirical study investigating the washback of the IELTS academic writing test. Language Testing in Asia, 2(1), 5-25.
Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Consequences of high-stake testing (Master’s thesis). Rochester, NY: St. John Fisher College, Fisher Digital Publications. Retrieved from
Genesee, F., & Hamayan, E. V. (1994). Classroom-based assessment. In F. Genesee (Eds.), Educating second language children (pp.212–239). New York: Cambridge University Press.
George, P. S. (2001). A + accountability in Florida? Educational Leadership, 59(1), 28-32.              
Gilmore, A., & Smith, J. (2008).Students’ experience of assessment .Retrieved from /publication/267301534_Students%27_Experience_of_Assessment.
Gipps, C. V. (2012). Beyond testing: Towards a theory of educational assessment. London: Routledge.
Gunn, J., Al-Bataineh, A., & Abu Al-Rub, M. (2016). Teachers’ perceptions of high-stakes testing. International Journal of Teaching and Education, 6(2), 49-062. doi: 10.20472/TE.2016.4.2.003
Hung, S. A., & Huang, H. D. (2019). Standardized proficiency tests in a campus-wide English curriculum: A washback study. Language Testing in Asia, 9 (21). doi:10.1186/s40468-019-0096-5
Kheirkhah, H., & Ghonsooly, B. (2014). Qualitative study of Iranian English university entrance examination in the light of positive washback strategies. Studies in English Language Teaching, 2(1), 37-65. doi:10.22158/selt.v2n1p38
Khodabakhshzadeh, H., Zardkanloo, R., & Alipoor, I. (2017). The effects of mock tests on Iranian EFL learners’ test scores. International Journal of Education & Literacy Studies, 5(3), 47-51.
Khoshsima, H., Saed, A., & Mousaei, F. (2018). Exploring the effect of teaching test-taking strategies on intermediate level learners on reading section of IELTS: Learners’ attitude in focus. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 9(2), 4-9.
Kulm, G. (1994). Mathematics assessment: What works in the classroom? San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Inc.
Kwako, J. (2003). A brief summary of traditional and alternative assessment in the college classroom. Retrieved from
Law, B., & Eckes, M. (2007). Assessment and ESL: An alternative approach (2nd ed.). Canada: Portage & Main Press. Retrieved from
Menken, K. (2017). High-stakes tests as de facto language education policies. In E. Shohamy, I.G. Or & S. May (Eds.), Language testing and assessment. Encyclopedia of language and education (pp. 385 -397). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-02261-1_35
Mikami, H., Leung, C.Y., & Yoshikawa, L. (2018). The threshold of anxiety in low-stakes testing for foreign language reading. Reading in a Foreign Language, 30(1), 92–107.
Munoz, R. E. (2017). The effect of washback on EFL learners’ attitudes toward tests. Studies in English Language Teaching, 5(3), 516-530.
Newstead, S. E., & Findlay, K. (1997). Some problems with using examination performance as a measure of teaching ability. Psychology Teaching Review, 6(1), 23-30.
Ostovar Namaghi, S. A. (2013). Washback from bottom-up: A grounded theory. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 2(6), 213-220.
Pajares, F., & Urdan, T. (2006). Foreword. In F. Pajares, & T. Urdan (Eds.), Self-efficacy beliefs of adolescents (pp. 9–12). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Pan, Y. C. (2009b). Test impact: English certification exit requirements in Taiwan. TEFLIN Journal, 20(2), 119-139.
Pintrich, P. R., & Schunk, D. H. (2002). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Poehner, M. E. (2013). Dynamic assessment in second language acquisition. In C. A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics (pp.3-4). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. doi: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0345
Raoofi, S., Tan, B. H., & Chan, S. H.  (2012). Self-efficacy in second/foreign language learning contexts. English Language Teaching, 5(11), 60-74. doi:10.5539/elt. v5n11p60
Rezaeian, M., Seyyedrezaei, S. H., Barani, G., & Seyyedrezaei, Z. (2020). Construction and validation of educational, social and psychological consequences questionnaires of EPT as a high-stakes test. International Journal of Language Testing, 10(2), 33-70.
Rezaeian, M., Seyyedrezaei, S. H., & Seyyedrezaei, Z. (in press). A study of motivation, self-efficacy beliefs and feelings as psychological factors among Iranian non-English PhD students in EPT. The Iranian Journal of Learning and Memory. doi: 10.22034/iepa.2020. 243321.1197
Salehi, M. [Massomeh], & Marefat, F. (2014). The effects of foreign language anxiety and test anxiety on foreign language test performance. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(5). 931-940. doi:10.4304/tpls.4.5.931-940
Salehi, M. [Mohammad], & Tarjoman, M. (2017). An investigation of a nationwide exam from a critical language testing perspective. Cogent Social Sciences, 3(1). doi:10.1080/23311886.2017.1396639
Shohamy, E. (1982). Affective considerations in language testing. The Modern Language Journal, 66(1), 13-17. doi:10.2307/327810
Shohamy, E. (2001b). Democratic assessment as an alternative. Language Testing, 18(4), 373–391. doi:10.1177/026553220101800404
Shohamy, E. (2007b). Tests as power tools: Looking back, looking forward. In J. Fox, M. Wesche, D. Bayliss, L. Cheng, C. E. Turner & C. H. Doe (Eds.), Language testing reconsidered (pp.141–153). Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.
Shohamy, E. (2017). Critical language testing. In E. Shohamy, I. G. Or & S. May (Eds.), Language testing and assessment, encyclopedia of language and education (pp.441-455). Springer International Publishing AG. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-02261-1_35
Siahpoosh, H., Ramak, M., & Javandel, B. (2019). Washback effect of IELTS on Iranian learners’ perspectives ‎on IELTS preparation courses. ‎ Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 6(2), 43-52.
Struyven, K., Dochy, F., & Janssens, S. (2005). Students’ perceptions about evaluation and assessment in higher education: A review. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(4), 331–347. doi: 10.1080/0260293042000318091
Thibodeaux, A. K. (2014). The effects of leadership and high-stakes testing on the retention of teachers (Doctorial Dissertation).  University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.
Thompson, G., & Allen, T. (2012). Four effects of the high-stakes testing movement on African American K-12 students. The Journal of Negro Education, 81(3), 218-227.
Watson, C., Johanson, M., Loder, M., & Dankiw, J. (2014). Effects of high-stakes testing on third through fifth grade students: Student voices and concerns for educational leaders. Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership, 12(1), 1-11.
Wheelock, A., Bebell, D. J., & Haney, W. (2000). What can student drawings tell us about high-stakes testing in Massachusetts? Teachers College Record. Retrieved  from
Yang, Y. X. (2017). Test anxiety analysis of Chinese college students in computer-based spoken English test. Educational Technology & Society, 20(2), 63–73.