English Language and Numeracy Policy

Policy Learning and Teaching English Language and Numeracy Policy

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Intent

This policy has been developed in response to JCU’s continuing commitment to:

*   Ensuring the quality of its programs and graduates;

*   Implementing best practice in English language and numeracy development;

*   Welcoming a wide spectrum of domestic students, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students some of whom may have English as an additional language; many students from non-traditional backgrounds; and students with disabilities that require reasonable adjustments in order for them to acquire, improve and/or demonstrate their language and numeracy skills;

*   Meeting relevant legislative requirements;

*   Increasing international student numbers across the tri-city campuses; and

*   Ensuring the development of key graduate attributes.

This policy sets out JCU’s requirements for, and expectations of, students’ English language and numeracy proficiency, at enrolment, during their course of study, and at graduation, thereby increasing student retention and the success rates of students in JCU’s academic programs, and ensuring that JCU graduates demonstrate appropriate levels of English language and numeracy proficiency.

Scope

The policy applies to all JCU staff, and to all JCU students undertaking preparatory, undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including higher degree by research programs, in which English is the language of instruction and assessment.

The policy addresses the development of English language and numeracy proficiency across students’ enrolment in the University. The level of English language proficiency required at entry to the University is specified in the Admissions Policy and the Higher Degree by Research Requirements.

Definitions

“’English language proficiency’ has been defined as the ability of students to use the English language to make and communicate meaning appropriately in spoken and written contexts while completing their higher education studies and after they graduate. 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”.

English Language Standards for Higher Education (DEEWR, 2010, p.2).

Numeracy proficiency “Numeracy involves… using… mathematics… to achieve some purpose… in a particular context" (Australian Numeracy Education Strategy Development Conference, 1997, p. 13); or “the ability to generate, calculate, interpret and communicate numerical information in ways appropriate to a given discipline” (JCU Graduate Attributes- Undergraduate).

Policy and Procedures

Through its Admissions Policy, JCU endeavours to ensure that students are prepared for the language and numeracy demands required to participate successfully in their chosen course of study.  Pursuant to its commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to internationalisation, the University recognises the value of cultural and linguistic diversity as well as specialist language use within the disciplines.  Accordingly, this Language and Numeracy Policy recognises the importance of language and numeracy development in the context of the discipline.

JCU has a responsibility to ensure that all students develop key graduate attributes including a level of English language and numeracy proficiency that will allow them to participate effectively and productively in their courses and subsequent employment.

The University provides a supportive social and academic environment which promotes students’ language and numeracy development. Academic and professional staff share the responsibility for supporting students’ development of English language skills and numeracy requirements for specific discipline areas.  Mechanisms of support are highlighted to students during orientation to James Cook University and promoted in ways that ensure students are guided to seek timely support to succeed in their learning.

The University actively encourages students to take responsibility for their own language and numeracy development: by taking advantage of learning resources which are offered, developing their own strategies as well as acting on feedback, so that they continue to strengthen and extend their language and numeracy proficiency to ensure the attainment of graduate attributes.

The University recognises that:

*   At JCU, it is through English1 that content is delivered and assessed and that the development of English language and numeracy proficiency are integral to the development of discipline-based knowledge.

*   English language and numeracy standards on entry are not adequate to ensure students’ English language and numeracy proficiency on graduation. While some students will enter the university with high levels of general English language and numeracy proficiency, all students will need to acquire specific academic language and numeracy skills during their studies, and the acquisition of these skills is part of improving English language and numeracy proficiency.

*   The development of English language proficiency is integral to the development of discipline-based knowledges, and that language use varies according to context, audience and purpose. It is primarily through English that students both interact with knowledge and are assessed. Relevant Divisions, therefore share the responsibility for making explicit and developing their students’ English language, specific to their discipline(s), in their courses.

*   Numeracy requirements vary across disciplines.

*   English is an additional language for many students.

*   English language and numeracy proficiency are key employability indicators.

*   Legislative requirements mandate a focus on the development of English language and numeracy proficiency.

  1. As acknowledged within the TEQSA Threshold Standards (Section 2.2) courses may develop proficiency in another language which could be delivered and/or addressed in a language other than English.

Procedures for supporting undergraduate and post-graduate students develop proficiency in English language and numeracy

English Language and Numeracy Policy

Procedures

Set entry standards for English language and numeracy proficiency at a level that ensures JCU students are sufficiently proficient in English and numeracy to participate effectively in their university studies when commencing study.

College Deans support Course Coordinators to ensure that for each course:

*   regular review processes, including external benchmarking, are in place in relation to English language and numeracy entry standards for each course.

*   all course documentation clearly indicates the entry standards related to English language and or numeracy.

Design course structures which allow students to focus specifically on building language and numeracy proficiency required within the discipline and throughout a course of study.

College Deans ensure that Course Coordinators in collaboration with Associate Deans, Teaching and Learning and Subject Coordinators and relevant support staff:

*   Develop course learning outcomes that indicate relevant language and numeracy proficiency.

*   Develop course structures that progressively develop and assess language and numeracy proficiency.

*   Map the development of English language and numeracy proficiency horizontally and vertically throughout the course of study.

*   comply with relevant legislative and professional accreditation requirements related to course specific language and numeracy proficiency.

*   Recommend appropriate intervention and support strategies to ensure the development of English language and numeracy for a diverse range of students.

Ensure that early diagnostic assessment is used to identify students’ support needs (Post Entry Language/Numeracy Assessment).

College Deans ensure that Course Coordinators in collaboration with Subject Coordinators and relevant support staff:

*   Identify appropriate English language and or numeracy diagnostic assessment tools for discipline and course.

*   Ensure the completion of a diagnostic assessment as early as possible in the course.

*   Provide feedback to students about their proficiency prior to the census date for the relevant study period.

*   Collate data in relation to learning needs of different cohorts of students.

Ensure that students requiring additional assistance, not provided within course structures, in English language skills and numeracy development are referred to the appropriate support services in a timely manner, and ensure that these support services are adequately resourced, and highlighted and promoted throughout the students’ life-cycle.

College Deans ensure that Course Coordinators in collaboration with Subject Coordinators and relevant support staff:

*   Employ a range of strategies to support students with diverse English language and numeracy needs.

*   Promote a range of support services to students through a variety of means.

*   Monitor the progress of students who require assistance.

*   Communicate to all staff teaching in the course, including sessional staff, the support mechanisms for English language and numeracy available throughout the course and the University.

Recognise and comply with current legislative requirements, including professional course accreditation requirements including consideration of strategies for students with a disability may use to facilitate their language and numeracy proficiency and performance in study and subsequent endeavours.

College Deans ensure that Course Coordinators in collaboration with Subject Coordinators and relevant support staff:

*   have appropriate knowledge of current legislative and professional course requirements in relation to English language and numeracy proficiency.

*   Include documentation of relevant legislative or professional requirements within the course in information provided to students.

Ensure subject coordinators explicitly assess and provide feedback on language and numeracy proficiency as relevant to the assessment tasks.

College Deans in collaboration with the Teaching and Learning Development Unit ensure that all staff:

*   are adequately skilled in effective assessment and feedback practices relating to course specific language and numeracy proficiency.

*   Include explicit criteria to assess language and numeracy proficiency as relevant to assessment tasks and subject outcomes.

*   Provide clear feedback in relation to English language and numeracy proficiency levels, including provision of exemplars as appropriate.

Include opportunities for capstone experiences in their course design, in which students demonstrate the expected level of English language and numeracy proficiency.

Course coordinators identify capstone experiences where students must demonstrate the expected level of English language and numeracy proficiency required for the graduate field.

Collaborate with student support services to ensure sources of support are appropriate to discipline and student requirements.

Course Coordinators, First Year Experience Coordinators and Subject Coordinators ensure that intervention and support strategies are developed in collaboration with the Teaching and Learning Development Unit and relevant support staff.

Actively engage with moderation and external benchmarking activities to ensure appropriate standards of proficiency, including liaising with industry/employer groups.

College Deans ensure that Course and Subject Coordinators undertake:

*   subject and course based moderation activities to ensure shared understanding about levels of English language and numeracy proficiency expected at each year level.

*   regular external benchmarking activities in relation to English language and numeracy proficiency.

Procedures for supporting Higher Degree Research candidates develop proficiency in English language and numeracy

Policy requirement

Procedures

Identify candidates’ academic language and numeracy development needs early in their candidature including as part of the confirmation of candidature process.

Through the admissions process, careful consideration will be made of evidence supplied on the Application for Domestic Research Candidature and Application for International Research Scholarship in relation to English language and numeracy proficiency and the ability to undertake the higher degree program in the discipline.

All candidates entering JCU with an IELTS below 7.0 will automatically be referred by the Graduate Research School on commencement of studies (during orientation) for a language assessment with appropriate support staff and a negotiated support plan developed by the Research Students Academic Skills Coordinator (RSASC) and a Learning Adviser from the Teaching and Learning Development Unit.

The support plan will be:

*   provided to the candidate within one week of the assessment

*   signed off by the candidate within 7 days of receipt.

*   lodged with the Graduate Research School by the RSASC.

*   included in the advisory panel /candidate checklist.

Monitoring and completion of the support plan will be included in the signed agreement of roles and responsibilities.

(As per university policy, a copy of this agreement must be lodged with the Graduate Research School within 6 weeks of commencement of studies).

Progress in relation to the support plan will be recorded in the confirmation of candidature and annual report documentation.

As part of the confirmation of candidature documentation, including the substantive piece of scholarly writing, all HDR candidates are assessed for their language proficiency and monitored to ensure capability for enrolled degree including completing Section 5 Academic Writing Skills and including any summative comments about presentation skills.

Collaborate with support staff (eg: learning advisers, the Counselling Service, AccessAbility Services and the International Study Centre) to ensure sources of support as appropriate;

The advisory panel will review the Checklist Between Research Higher Degree Student and supervisors and promote appropriate engagement with support services for the development of generic skills including English language proficiency.

Actively refer candidates to sources of development as appropriate.

The advisory panel members will actively refer candidates to support services and relevant workshops and report on participation as part of the annual report documentation including the Progress Report.

Actively engage with moderation and external benchmarking activities to ensure appropriate standards of proficiency.

Feedback on written work submitted by a candidate during candidature will include comments about English language and numeracy skills and clearly indicate any outstanding concerns.  On submission of thesis, the supervisor(s) will certify that the candidate’s work is of a suitable standard with reference to English language, including certification from the College Dean.

The advisory panel and College Deans will review reports from examiners and act on comments about English language, as per the Information for Examiners and as such ensure appropriate benchmarking is undertaken.

Related documents and legislation

Legislation:

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011

Disability Discrimination Act and related Education Standards;

Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations Act 2001

Other relevant JCU policy:

Learning Teaching and Assessment Policy

Admissions Policy

Higher Degree by Research Requirements

Reasonable Adjustments

The Learning Centre

Administration

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic

Approval Authority:

Academic Board

Approval date:

27/05/2014

Version no:

14-1

Date for next review:

12/11/2014

Revision History

Version

Revision date

Description of changes

Author

14-1

27/05/2014

Roles amended to reflect organisation re-structure

Policy Officer

12-1

12/11/2012

Policy established; implementation: 3/12/2012

 

Keywords:

English language, Numeracy, Numeracy proficiency, Learning

There are no related procedures.

There are no other related documents.