Tertiary study in a foreign language is an enormous challenge. The extent of this challenge is reflected in the performance of NESB students. NESB students have a higher failure rate than their ESB classmates and tend to be under-represented at the higher end of the grade spectrum, although over time, as they adjust culturally and acquire greater tertiary literacy skills, their performance tends to improve. Examinations, in particular, would appear to discriminate against NESB students, who take longer to process text in English than their ESB classmates. Allowing NESB students extra time in examinations for their first three semesters would appear to be a logical and equitable solution which would go some way towards addressing the disadvantage that they experience. However, there are strong bastions of resistance to this idea within universities: many academics and administrators do not accept the concept of positive discrimination; others claim that university admissions requirements should exclude students who have limited English literacy skills; others claim that allowing extra time for some students is too complex administratively. Indeed, there may be more constructive ways to address the disadvantages faced by NESB students. This paper will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of allowing NESB students extra time in exams as a way of helping students make the transition to studying in a foreign language.
|Title of host publication||Changing identities : proceedings of the 2001 Australian Language and Academic Skills Conference|
|Place of Publication||Wollongong|
|Publisher||University of Wollongong|
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|
|Event||Changing Identities: Language and academic skills conference - Wollongong, Australia|
Duration: 29 Nov 2001 → 30 Nov 2001
|Conference||Changing Identities: Language and academic skills conference|
|Period||29/11/01 → 30/11/01|
Wilson, C. (2002). Making the transition to studying in English: Is extra time in exams for NESB students a desirable option. In Changing identities : proceedings of the 2001 Australian Language and Academic Skills Conference Wollongong: University of Wollongong.