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English entrance requirements and language support for international postgraduate students

Picard, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-3087-7407 (2007) English entrance requirements and language support for international postgraduate students. In: 30th HERDSA Annual Conference: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship, 8 - 11 July 2007, Adelaide, SA



Concerns have recently been raised about international student graduates’ English language proficiency (Birrell, 2006). There have thus been calls for an increase in the required IELTS scores for students entering Australian universities. In this paper, I examine the validity of IELTS as an accurate predictor of academic success in postgraduate research degree contexts. I outline the literature which questions whether IELTS scores can accurately predict academic performance in the general student cohort. I then examine the IELTS writing and speaking examination tasks and evaluation procedures in relation to the literature on postgraduate research communication as well as the attributes and skills expected of postgraduate research students. I argue that raising the IELTS score would not necessarily result in greater academic success or improved written or spoken research communication in English after graduation. I therefore propose disciplinarily embedded research communication support in order to further develop international students' English research communication during their postgraduate research degree.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Conference Website:
Other Information: Published in Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30 July, 2007, 651 pages Published by Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks ISBN: 0908557728
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