Across the Four Domains: Pathway Students' Self-Reported Perceptions of English Proficiency

Across the Four Domains: Pathway Students' Self-Reported Perceptions of English Proficiency

Donna M. Velliaris (Independent Researcher, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3814-1.ch006

Abstract

In many Asian countries, tertiary education remains a much desired but seemingly unattainable goal for high school graduates, due to rigorous unified national examinations. With that in mind, international students invest millions of dollars annually attempting to enter Australian higher education (HE). Students arrive with high expectations, but in the early stages of their study abroad experience, they face a range of transitional difficulties centered around ‘academic English'. An author-developed semi-structured questionnaire included the open-ended question: In your own words, how would you describe your English language ability in terms of (1) listening, (2) speaking, (3) reading, and (4) writing? The data set collected the ‘voice' of 209 pathway students attending the Eynesbury Institute of Business and Technology (EIBT). Their self-reported narratives share personal perceptions of their own English language proficiency across the four domains largely within the context of their enrolment at the institute.
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Background And Literature Review

The Eynesbury Institute of Business and Technology

The Eynesbury Institute of Business and Technology (EIBT) is one of a growing number of private providers partnering with universities to establish pre-university pathway programs throughout Australia. The Institute has established a strong profile as a pre-university pathway provider in South Australia where students benefit from the discipline-specific expertise and academic rigour the universities apply to their own curriculum (Velliaris & Willis, 2014; Velliaris, Willis, & Breen, 2015a). Cross-institutional lecturers—from other pathway and partner institutions—deliver approximately 40 courses across three back-to-back trimesters (-01, -02, -03). As a ‘second chance’ for prospective students whose academic results and/or English language proficiency are marginally below the requirements for direct entry into Australian undergraduate programs, EIBT offers pathways to either The University of Adelaide or University of South Australia with Diplomas in (1) Business; (2) Information Technology; or (3) Engineering (Fiocco, 2006; Velliaris & Breen, 2014; Velliaris & Willis, 2014; Velliaris, Willis, et al., 2015a).

Throughout this presentation, the term ‘international students’ or ‘students’ is specific to individuals enrolled at the Institute on temporary student visas and who are almost exclusively Non-English Speaking Background (NESB). Pathways focus on the individual and the development of their independent learning, offering additional teaching time, early intervention strategies and a range of support systems. According to Levy (2007, p. 11), such systems are typically ‘culturally diverse’, ‘learner-friendly’, and ‘less politicized’.

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