Improving the academic performance of non-native English speaking students - the contribution of pre-sessional English language programmes

Andy Thorpe, Martin Snell, Sue Davey-Evans, Richard Talman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

575 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There is an established, if weak, inverse relationship between levels of English language proficiency and academic performance in higher education. In response, higher education institutions (HEI) insist upon minimum entry requirements in terms of language for international applicants. Many HEI now also offer pre-sessional English courses to bring applicants up to the designated language requirement. Our paper revisits the research into language proficiency and academic performance using data on all full-time students (17,925) attending a major UK HEI in the academic year 2011/12, 4,342 of whom were non-native English speakers. Our findings confirm that while higher International English Language Testing System (IELTS) marks at entry translate into higher grade point averages (GPA), students who undertake pre-sessional courses do notably worse in GPA terms than students who arrive with acceptable (for the course) IELTS scores. These findings suggest HEI (and, by extension, international students) could benefit from a review regarding the appropriateness of current pre-sessional English Language proficiency programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-32
Number of pages28
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Volume71
Issue number1
Early online date20 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • academic performance
  • international students
  • language
  • university entry system
  • adjustment to university

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Improving the academic performance of non-native English speaking students - the contribution of pre-sessional English language programmes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this