Examining and comparing English textbooks and high-stakes exams in Turkey

Yu X.

World Congress of Applied Linguistics (AILA), Groningen, Netherlands, 15 - 20 August 2021

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Groningen
  • Country: Netherlands


Few empirical studies have investigated the relationship between textbooks and high-stakes exams despite the significance of both in language teaching and learning. The mismatch between EFL textbooks and high-stakes exams in linguistic foci may lead to further washback effects and additional mental as well as financial burdens to teachers and learners. This study aims to examine whether the high-school textbooks distributed by the Ministry of Education align with the high-stakes university entrance exams for the past decade in Turkey. Corpus-based analyses were conducted to compare the lexical and syntactic complexity of the texts from high-school level EFL textbooks and university entrance English exams. The results suggested that the exam corpus presented significantly higher levels of lexical sophistication and diversity than the textbook corpus; regarding the syntactic complexity, for all 14 traditional measures and the majority of the fine-grained indices of syntactic complexity, the exam corpus presented either higher or equal levels compared to the textbook corpus. The results indicate a significant discrepancy between the textbook and exam corpus. This mismatch may create potential negative washback effects on students' language learning. Suggestions are given for further textbook and exam designing and revising.