On evaluating the effectiveness of university-wide credit-bearing English language enhancement courses

Benjamin Fenton-Smith, Pamela Humphreys, Ian Walkinshaw

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    There is an increasing understanding that the development of academic language and learning (ALL) for students with English as an additional language (EAL) should be facilitated via coordinated, institution-wide, scalable provision. However, with large-scale curriculum reform comes increased accountability and expectation of visible learning outcomes. This paper outlines six mechanisms that can be utilised in the evaluation of institution-wide credit-bearing English language enhancement courses (ELECs): 1) English language proficiency, 2) academic outcomes, 3) academic integrity, 4) retention, 5) student evaluations, and 6) self-directed learning. It is argued that, as measurable gains are likely to be modest in the short term, multiple methods are advisable to garner evidence of cumulative value. The constraints and affordances of each mechanism are discussed and operationalised in relation to a suite of ELECs at a large Australian university. The findings demonstrate co-occurrence of a range of positive student outcomes when compared with students who did not undertake the ELECs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)72-83
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
    Early online date7 Dec 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


    • academic language and learning (ALL)English language proficiency (ELP)Academic integrityRetentionSelf-directed learning
    • English language proficiency (ELP)
    • academic integrity
    • retention
    • self-directed learning


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