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  5. Supporting student academic skills development - an evaluation of an English for Academic Purposes pilot

Supporting student academic skills development - an evaluation of an English for Academic Purposes pilot

Project leader(s): 
Jo Fayram and John Woodthorpe
Faculty: 
WELS and STEM
Status: 
Current

The proposed work is to evaluate the effectiveness of a current pilot project using specialist English for Academic Purposes (EAP) tutors to provide academic skills sessions to students who have been determined to be in need of them. As well as supporting the students, these sessions also support their module tutors who can recognise students needing academic skills' support, but may not have the knowledge or time to address them directly. A large body of qualitative (student and tutor feedback) and quantitative (TMA scores) data has been gathered during 2019. This has been sufficient to gain approval for extending the pilot until the end of July 2020, but a more rigorous approach to data collection and evaluation is needed to justify making it a standard part of supporting students in developing their academic English skills before, during and between modules. It will also provide evidence to decide whether to apply the same approach for developing other skills, such as maths, where the tutor may similarly lack the ability or time to address the problem themselves.

Although the pilot activity is university-wide, this submission is being made to eSTEeM because the highest uptake is from STEM (110 out of 318 students referred), showing that STEM students and their tutors have the greatest need for EAP support. This confirms the impressions gained in a previous eSTEeM project with joint leadership from John Woodthorpe of the former MCT Faculty and Jim Donohue of the former FELS Faculty, as summarised in http://www.open.ac.uk/about/teaching-and-learning/esteem/sites/www.open.ac.uk.about.teaching-and-learning.esteem/files/files/ecms/web-content/2016-05-John-Woodthorpe-Language-final-report.pdf 

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