Making the transition to studying in English: Is extra time in exams for NESB students a desirable option

Catherine Wilson

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationChanging identities : proceedings of the 2001 Australian Language and Academic Skills Conference
    Place of PublicationWollongong
    PublisherUniversity of Wollongong
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)9780864187807
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    EventChanging Identities: Language and academic skills conference - Wollongong, Australia
    Duration: 29 Nov 200130 Nov 2001

    Conference

    ConferenceChanging Identities: Language and academic skills conference
    CountryAustralia
    CityWollongong
    Period29/11/0130/11/01

    Fingerprint

    student
    foreign language
    literacy
    university admission
    time
    examination
    performance
    semester
    discrimination
    university
    experience

    Cite this

    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.
    Wilson, Catherine. / Making the transition to studying in English: Is extra time in exams for NESB students a desirable option. Changing identities : proceedings of the 2001 Australian Language and Academic Skills Conference. Wollongong : University of Wollongong, 2002.
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    title = "Making the transition to studying in English: Is extra time in exams for NESB students a desirable option",
    abstract = "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.",
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    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. University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Changing Identities: Language and academic skills conference, Wollongong, Australia, 29/11/01.

    Making the transition to studying in English: Is extra time in exams for NESB students a desirable option. / Wilson, Catherine.

    Changing identities : proceedings of the 2001 Australian Language and Academic Skills Conference. Wollongong : University of Wollongong, 2002.

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

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    Wilson C. 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. 2002