The need for English language development in anglophone higher education settings: a case study from Australia

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The literature focusing on the linguistic development of students with English as an additional language (EAL) in higher education has tended to focus on settings where English is not the first language of the majority of the population. This has led to the implicit assumption that English language outcomes in English-taught programs in anglophone higher education institutions (HEIs) are unproblematic. Yet the linguistic outcomes of EAL students in Australian HEIs have come under considerable scrutiny in recent years, and the available research provides evidence that improvement is not guaranteed over the course of a university degree. The national focus on international EAL students and the volume of research on the topic makes Australia a useful case study, specifically for anglophone nations with similar international student profiles. Using Australia as a case study, this article outlines the issue to evidence that this is still not being adequately addressed. It describes the national sets of principles and standards and the research evidence around EAL graduates' English language outcomes. It makes the case that it is necessary to measure and evaluate English language outcomes and to ensure that English language proficiency is explicitly developed as part of a university's core business, even in traditional anglophone nations. Recommendations to assist universities to develop and evaluate English language outcomes are provided, along with a call to action for HEIs to evaluate and assure context-specific graduating English language outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101156
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • English as a medium of instruction (EMI)
  • English as an additional language (EAL)
  • English language proficiency (ELP)
  • Higher education
  • International students


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