Presentation on theme: "Carolyn Westbrook Senior Lecturer in EFL"— Presentation transcript:
1 Investigating ‘excessive assistance’, plagiarism and washback in EAP WRITing Carolyn WestbrookSenior Lecturer in EFLSouthampton Solent University, UK
2 Outline Introduction Key terms The importance of washback Rationale for the projectThe research projectSummary and conclusions
3 Introduction … or: Who am I and why am I here? ProSET?
4 Key terms … or: What is she talking about? What do you understand by these terms?‘excessive assistance’‘plagiarism’‘washback’
5 Ahaa … that’s what she means! (1) ‘Excessive assistance’ is when a student is helped with an assessed task by a peer or family member and this help is unidentifiable and undeclared.
6 Ahaa … that’s what she means! (2) ‘Plagiarism’ is when a student uses the words or ideas of someone else without acknowledging them in their work.‘Washback’ is ‘the effect of testing on teaching and learning’ (Hughes, 1989: 1)
7 The importance of washback Why do we care about washback?Importance for test validation:Socio-cognitive framework for test validation (Weir, 2005)Qualities of test usefulness (Bachman & Palmer, 1996)
8 A socio-cognitive framework for test validation (Weir, 2005) Context validityTheory-based validityCriterion-related validityScoring validityConsequential validityResponseScore / gradeTest-taker characteristics
9 Qualities of test usefulness (Bachman & Palmer, 1996) Construct ValidityReliabilityImpactPracticalityAuthenticityInteractiveness
10 Impact – definition Impact: The influence a test has on society and educational systems and … the individuals within those systems(Bachman & Palmer, 1996: 19-35)
11 Who does a test impact on? Fellow studentsThe governmentTest takersParentsTeachersThe educational systemSocietyIndividual institutionsEmployersCo-workers
12 How do we investigate washback? ‘… test developers … must actually investigate the specific areas (such as content of teaching, teaching methodology, ways of assessing achievement), direction (positive, negative), and extent of the presumed impact.’(Wall and Alderson, 1993, in Bachman & Palmer, 1996: 30-31)
13 The problem of ‘excessive assistance’ ‘Excessive assistance’ manifests itself as:‘help’ from friendsuse of Google Translate to translate books or texts for an assignmentProblem: Turnitin does not detect Google Translate (or books, unless they have previously been entered in to the database
14 Why do students plagiarise? Intentional‘Strategic approach to higher education, wanting … a degree while needing employment’ (Moon, 1999)‘Weaker’ students want to ‘avoid failure’ (Wilhoit, 1994, in Underwood and Szabo, 2004:181)UnintentionalLack of understanding (Bamford and Sergiou, 2005)Lack of time to include references (Gillett, 2011)Approx. 60% of students admit to plagiarism (Moon, 1999)
16 The same student’s in-class test The People imProvements the health in This life and they helPing together If the government looking to the new life for this help.The health in this life it’ss important for etch one to get the PeoPle save in the life, i shoud take health and tell any one hwo is did’nt do teh health for this life. In my oPinion i shoud tell for the governments of richer nations if they helping Poorer nations in such areas that i thik dis agree with this think. If governments looking for the help to PeoPle i agree with the Pest think and the PeoPle do good think for governments I would like but every one in hes work as he get or he have abuot the scalar sheP from when he had befor However the PeoPle help government in the life of health.Title: Improvements in health, education and trade are essential for the development of poorer nations. However, the governments of richer nations should take more responsibility for helping poorer nations in such areas. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
17 Previous assessed writing tasks Process essay done outside of class with feedback tutorialsBased on undergraduate study fieldLength words (Sabanci); 1500 words (Solent)Paraphrasing and in-text citations requisites of the task
18 Process essay: positive washback Students researched the topic to find relevant informationSome students successfully managed to paraphrase and use correct in-text citationThose who attended tutorials got feedback on essay
19 Process essay: negative washback In particular, students:were reluctant to read texts carefullydid not develop appropriate paraphrasing or in-text citation skillsdid not develop necessary linguistic skills (esp. competence in key vocabulary and lexico-grammatical structures)Inability to perform the task despite perception that they were doing itHigh failure / Academic Misconduct rateApprox. 60% of students admit to plagiarism (Moon, 1999)
20 Our project – the context Sabanci UniversityEnglish-medium universityFoundation Development Year – studentsVariety of course-based and exam-based assessmentsExit level: approx. B2
21 Our project – the context Southampton Solent UniversityBritish universityInternational Foundation Year – studentsVariety of course-based and exam-based assessmentsExit level: approx. B2
22 The Open Book Exam4 practice texts (approx. 20 pages) and text activity pack as well as a practice essay task (not assessed) on a different topic to that of the exam4 new texts (approx. 20 pages) 4 weeks before the exam and text activity pack – worked on in and outside of classApprox. 60% of students admit to plagiarism (Moon, 1999)
23 Evaluation of the Open Book Exam Approx. 60% of students admit to plagiarism (Moon, 1999)
24 Washback on learning - 1 Lecturers: changed the teaching from mainly tutorial classes to a mixture of working on the text packs and giving feedback on the practice essayworked in more depth on reading skillsgave feedback on practice essays but no marks
25 Washback on learning - 2 Time spent on practice texts and exam texts Approx. 60% of students admit to plagiarism (Moon, 1999)
26 Washback on learning - 3 Test preparation Approx. 60% of students admit to plagiarism (Moon, 1999)
27 Washback on learning - 4 Predicting the essay question Approx. 60% of students admit to plagiarism (Moon, 1999)
28 Washback on learning - 5 It’s not all positive … Negative washback: Students do not need to practise research skills as all texts are providedOpen Book Exam and preparation encourage careful reading but not expeditious reading
29 Reducing excessive assistance Preparation – may have had help before the exam - handwriting check:Sabanci: 94/100 matchedSolent: 53/54 matched (but 11: no/very few notes)Exam room – no chance of excessive assistance
30 Reducing plagiarism - 1 Practice essay: 113 submissions (49 students) Mean Similarity Index: 33%
31 Reducing plagiarism - 2 Exam: 54 students Mean Similarity Index: 9.6% Practice essay and exam:both plagiarism and correct referencingevidence of learning about plagiarism
32 Summary Positive AND negative washback on learning: learning about plagiarism; increased engagement with texts → extended reading; decrease in plagiarism between practice essay and exam; decrease in excessive assistance / predicting essay question; ss do not practice research skills; careful reading but not expeditious reading;
33 The moral of the story is … … don’t assume that all changes will always be for the better.