English Language Development at Curtin
The development of English language proficiency is an integral part of studying at Curtin University. English language proficiency underpins effective and professional communication. For information regarding the development of English language proficiency and the ongoing implementation of Curtin’s English Language and Learning Policy and Procedures, see the English Language and Learning Policy Implementation Operational Plan 2016–2017.
English Language and Learning Policy
The Curtin English Language and Learning policy provides the fundamental definition, principles and understanding of English language proficiency and its development for the University. Key elements of this are:
- Proficiency in effective communication is a graduate capability and forms part of the qualities, skills, knowledge and abilities that should be achieved by graduates of all courses
- The development of English language proficiency is integral to the development of discipline-based knowledge, and language use varies according to context, audience and purpose
- All staff share the responsibility for developing the discipline specific communication skills of their students
- The University ensures that students understand they have an individual responsibility to take action to continue to develop their English academic language during the course of their degree
A whole of University approach has been adopted to implementing the Curtin English Language and Learning Policy. As the following diagram shows, the policy is supported and managed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, and enacted in the faculties with direction from the Deans Learning and Teaching. Support is also provided to the Faculties by Curtin Learning and Teaching through the work of the English Language Proficiency Advisor, who is responsible for integrating English language development in the course review process and for providing professional development to academic staff.
The English Language and Learning Policy is being implemented according to an approved Operational Plan, which outlines key objectives and milestones in enacting the Policy.
English Language and Learning Procedures
The English Language and Learning Policy is supported by a set of Procedures for promoting the English language development of all students. These include the following:
Post-entry language assessment (PELA)
While all students must demonstrate a minimum level of English proficiency prior to commencing at Curtin, some students require post-entry English language development in order to successfully complete academic courses. All Curtin undergraduate degrees include communication skills content and a PELA of all commencing students occurs in the first week of core Communication Skills units. Students identified at risk on the PELA are required to attend a series of weekly one-hour, content-aligned, language focused tutorials, called SUCCESS. In most cases attendance in a prescribed minimum number of SUCCESS tutorials is linked to passing the associated communication skills unit.
Instruction and continued assessment of English language proficiency
English language proficiency development is an element of the Assessment, Review and Transformation (ART) process and the CTL English Language Proficiency Advisor coordinates its integration in assessment design, where relevant to unit learning outcomes, using the Common European Framework (CEF) as a reference scale. The ELP Advisor also works with faculty-based English Language Development Coordinators to align assessment of English language proficiency to discipline-specific instructional interventions for English language development. The latter include workshop series, seminars and online resources for students to improve their English and academic language skills.
English for Academic Purposes elective units
For students identified by their course performance as requiring an intensive English language development intervention, Curtin is planning for the provision of content-aligned elective credit-bearing units in English for Academic Purposes (EAP).