Teaching to the High-stakes Testing in Second Language Learning

  • Hyun Jin Cho Purdue University
  • Jung Han Purdue University


The purpose of this review paper is to address high-stakes second language assessment and challenges of teaching to the high-stakes standardized tests. Washback of these large-scale assessments can be both beneficial and harmful. Literature has shown that teaching to the high-stakes assessment would interfere with students’ learning in the long run and misinterpret their learning ability and academic self-concept with incorrect information from the test results. If teachers focus on teaching to the high-stakes test items, students may not learn the fundamental skills and knowledge that they need to be successful in higher education. More alternatives to the item teaching instruction should be considered in order to provide constructive instructions that students need in their second language learning in the long run.