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Workshop: Supporting realistic university aspirations for culturally and linguistically diverse cohorts


Porteous, M and Johnson, P and Robin, S and Komsta, P, Workshop: Supporting realistic university aspirations for culturally and linguistically diverse cohorts, Transforming through Praxis: Students from Refugee Backgrounds in Higher Education Symposium, 20 November 2015, University of Newcastle, Australia (2015) [Conference Extract]


Anecdotal evidence at our institution suggests that high tertiary aspirations among CALD cohorts, particularly those from refugee backgrounds, may coexist with limited prior exposure to the requirements of university study and the necessary precursors for success, including English language proficiency.

The University of Tasmania Academic English Indicator is a project which supports the university aspirations of prospective culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students by raising awareness of the requirements of tertiary study, and offering tailored enrolment and pathway advice. The project builds links between the university and college teachers and CALD community groups, and is part of a wider CALD engagement strategy.

Evaluation of the project suggests that the indicator is a successful predictor of academic performance in the first semester of study, and demonstrates that students regard it as a useful tool for making appropriate enrolment decisions. As such, it has been a successful initiative for supporting aspirations by empowering prospective students to understand and successfully engage with the university environment.

However, the project is not without its challenges, including encouraging prospective students to engage with the indicator and advice, identifying pathways that are suitable for the complex position of each individual, building and sustaining the partnerships required, and adapting to changes in roles and responsibilities for CALD students within the institution.

Aims of the workshop

This workshop will:

  • Present the rationale, design and outcomes of the University of Tasmania Academic English Indicator project - including our central concern, which is finding a way to ensure that CALD students, and in particular those from refugee backgrounds, are supported to determine their university preparedness, and to find appropriate pathways to university success.
  • Invite discussion and comparison with the pros and cons of this project, and those in use at participantsí institutions.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of mandatory English language proficiency testing, prior to university entry, for this group.
  • Present the factors which have enabled us to give appropriate advice and find appropriate pathways for individuals, and those which have been barriers, and invite discussion on ways to enhance the positives and address the barriers.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:English language proficiency, culturally and linguistically diverse students, English language testing
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Communication across languages and culture
UTAS Author:Porteous, M (Ms Morag Porteous)
UTAS Author:Johnson, P (Ms Paula Johnson)
UTAS Author:Robin, S (Mr Sebastien Robin)
UTAS Author:Komsta, P (Mr Peter Komsta)
ID Code:107297
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Academic Division
Deposited On:2016-03-09
Last Modified:2016-03-09

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