The Impacts of a Nationwide High-Stakes Test from High School Teachers and Principals' Perspectives: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 English Department, Humanities Faculty, Bu-Ali SIna University, Iran.

2 English Department, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.


Iranian National University Entrance Exam (INUEE) as a nationwide high-stakes test is held annually to screen Iranian high school graduates and admit them into higher education programs in universities. This high-stakes examination has a wide range of impacts on test takers as the primary stake-holders and the parents, teachers, and high school principals as the secondary stakeholders. This study reports the impacts of INUEE on high school teachers and principals. To this aim, 27 teachers and 18 principals from three western provinces of Iran sat for a structured interview. Each interview lasted nearly 30 minutes. All the interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Next, following the Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) as the basis of analysis, the transcriptions were subjected to content analysis to extract common patterns and recurring themes. Content analysis was applied to codify the transcribed interview data through an inductive process of frequent moving back and forth to extract common patterns and recurring themes of the data. After coding and 'quantitizing' the data (Dörnyei, 2007), the basic themes were identified, frequency counted, and tabulated. The results indicated that from the majority of the participants' perspective, the INUEE has detrimental consequences for students, teachers, school principals, and the educational curriculum. The findings of the study underscore the consequential invalidity and unfairness of the test and its negative impacts on different aspects of the educational system. The findings provide practical implications for educational policy-makers, school principals, and teachers highlighting the necessity of their awareness of negative consequences of INUEE.