Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael M. Williamson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lilia P. Savova, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Virginia A. Perdue, D.A.

Fourth Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.


The influence exerted by language tests on language teaching and learning has been called washback (Pearson, 1988). Although an increasing number of empirical washback studies have appeared after the call by Alderson and Wall (1993), the perspectives of the most immediate stakeholders, the test takers, are largely under-researched. Equally under-researched are the washback effects of language tests at the college level, since most reported research has been conducted on tests given before the tertiary level (e.g. Cheng, 2005; Manjarrés, 2005; Qi, 2004; Shohamy, 2001; Wall & Alderson, 1993; Watanabe, 2004). Hence the present study, from students' perspectives, examines how the reformed national College English Test Band 4 (CET-4) affects English teaching and learning at the college level in China. A four-phase mixed method is employed with 414 student participants from three Chinese universities. Suggestions are proposed to further promote a more effective English language assessment in China.