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English Post Enrolment Language Assessment

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Section 1 - Preamble, Purpose and Scope

Preamble

(1) The University is committed to ensuring that its graduates are equipped with the English language proficiency necessary to participate successfully in their chosen fields of study, and to prepare them for life and work after graduation and for scholarly engagement in those fields. Accordingly SCU has prioritised one of its graduate attributes for special attention through this policy: "Communication and social skills: the ability to communicate and collaborate with individuals, and within teams, in professional and community settings" (Graduate Attributes Policy).

Purpose

(2) The purpose of this Policy is to:

  1. ensure students have sufficient opportunity to continually develop their English language proficiency while studying at the University; and
  2. provide a mechanism to assure the acquisition of English language proficiency upon graduation.

(3) The policy is in accord with SCU's commitment to internationalisation and the inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds and experiences within its programs of study.

Scope

(4) This Policy applies to all staff and coursework students of the University.

(5) This Policy does not define the University's English language proficiency admission standards, which are found in the Rules Relating to Awards, Rule 2, Section 1.

Section 2 - Definitions

(6) English Language Proficiency (ELP)

  1. ELP is defined as the ability of students to use the English language to make and communicate meaning in spoken and written contexts while completing their university studies. Such uses may range from a simple task such as discussing work with fellow students, to complex tasks such as writing an academic paper or delivering a speech to a professional audience. This view of proficiency as the ability to organise language to carry out a variety of communication tasks distinguishes the use of 'English language proficiency' from a narrow focus on language as a formal system concerned only with correct use of grammar and sentence structure. English Language Standards for Higher Education (DEEWR, 2010, p.1)

(7) Post Enrolment Language Assessment (PELA)

  1. A diagnostic tool used to help students identify their proficiency in academic English, and to help the University efficiently allocate English language support resources.

(8) Workshops

  1. are activity-based synchronous group learning experiences conducted either on-campus or virtually.

Section 3 - Policy Statement

Post Enrolment Language Assessment (PELA)

(9) The University will provide all commencing coursework students with the opportunity to take, free of charge, a Post Enrolment Language Assessment (PELA) immediately on completion of enrolment to identify their level of English Language Proficiency (ELP) in the University context.

(10) The Director Student Services may request a student undertake a PELA at his or her discretion.

(11) The results of a PELA shall:

  1. be used to help at-risk students connect with University English language support resources;
  2. not appear on a student's Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS) or Academic Transcript; and
  3. be stored securely and treated confidentially, with access limited to University staff with a legitimate need to know.

(12) Notwithstanding clause (11)c, the results of the PELA may be used by the University from time to time for research, planning and/or reporting purposes .

ELP Support Services

(13) Those students who are identified through the PELA as being 'at risk' of not successfully completing their studies due to level of ELP may obtain priority access to support services to assist them in developing their English language proficiency in a university context.

(14) Support Services will be provided free of charge to SCU coursework students by the Academic Skills unit within the Centre for Teaching and Learning unless the University has made provision for support through contractual arrangements with another institution.

(15) Support provided by the University may consist of one-to-one consultations, small group workshops (generic and unit specific) and diverse online resources.

Embedding English Language Proficiency into the Curriculum

(16) In line with SCU Graduate Attributes Policy, course learning outcomes and structures must include the development of students' communication skills and be designed to allow students to specifically build English language proficiency in the context of the course using a range of strategies.

Assuring English Language Proficiency.

(17) Assuring ELP will occur in two stages:

  1. The entry standards overseen by the Academic Board will assure English Language proficiency on entry (see Rules Relating to Awards, Rule 2, Section 1).
  2. The process for assuring the SCU Graduate Attributes in the Graduate Attribute Policy will apply to ELP development and acquisition throughout a course and involve:
    1. mapping communication skills/ELP across the course;
    2. careful moderation of assessment tasks which contain communication skills/ELP;
    3. internal and external benchmarking of designated final assessment activities, e.g. assessment in capstone units or final project units; and
    4. consideration of ELP in Course Reviews.

Responsibilities

(18) The following committees or staff are responsible for the implementation of this Policy:

  1. Academic Board, through its Course Planning, Approval and Review mechanisms, must ensure all students have sufficient opportunities to improve their English language proficiency throughout the period of their studies.
  2. Heads of School must ensure that Course Coordinators in collaboration with Unit assessors:
    1. develop course learning outcomes that indicate relevant communication skills/ELP;
    2. develop course structures that progressively develop and assess relevant communication skills related to ELP;
    3. communicate to all staff teaching in the course, including sessional staff, the support mechanisms for ELP;
    4. map the development of relevant communication skills/ELP throughout a course using the Unit and Course Management System;
    5. comply with relevant legislative and professional accreditation requirements related to course specific language proficiency;
    6. recommend appropriate and timely intervention and support strategies to ensure the development of English language for a diverse range of students; and
    7. undertake unit and course moderation processes and select final assessment tasks (e.g. with capstone units) for external moderation;
  3. relevant Staff within the Centre for Teaching and Learning must:
    1. provide students with access to PELAs;
    2. offer support to students requiring assistance in ELP;
    3. provide advice and resources on development and assessment of ELP across the curriculum; and
    4. provide professional learning opportunities on the development and assessment of ELP.

Section 4 - Procedures

(19) Nil.

Section 5 - Guidelines

(20) Nil.