Effect of High-Stakes Exams on Creative Writing Skills of ESL Learners in Pakistan
Creative writing owns an important place in the education system. It enlightens creativity and boosts critical thinking among students. Therefore, it appears to be a ruling skill. Knowing that conventional high-stakes examination leaves a key impact on teaching and learning, the present study was designed to identify the effect of high-stakes exams on creative writing skills of secondary level students of English as a Second Language (ESL) in Pakistan. For this, the content of a series of seven English tests by 8th, 9th, and 10th graders (separately) taken in one of the two spans of private coaching at a renowned tuition center for preparation of high-stakes exams was analyzed to see incremental change in students’ creative writing abilities. Analysis discovered that the whole of students’ content was mere replicas of ready-made notes except few traces of original effort by students only in the beginning. It was revealed that the system of examination is producing crammers rather than developing real writing skills among students. The study recommended that the examination should include such writing tasks as should gear the education system to develop original creative writing skills among students.