The administration of a PELA introduced will depend on a number of factors. The kinds of issues that need to be taken into consideration are:
Whom will it target?Some Australian university PELAs target specific cohorts; for example: students who obtain an English language entry score below a given level, students new to the university, students who have English as an additional language, or students who enrol in a particular course or unit of study. In deciding which students will be targeted, it is important to consider issues of equity, for example whether a proposed PELA is likely to disadvantage or stigmatise the target cohort in some way.
Will it be compulsory or optional? Optional PELAs may not attract the students who would most benefit from participating in language development activities, but compulsory PELAs may be resented by students unless the purpose is made very clear and the process is non-discriminatory.
When will it be administered?The availability of the PELA will also be related to the target cohort and the purpose of the assessment. For example, if it is intended to target all new students, then it will probably be most effective to administer the PELA at the beginning of semester. If it is open to all students as a self-improvement tool, then it might be better made available on an ongoing basis.
Choices made will depend on the needs of a specific institution, so it is not possible to generalise about the best options. However, any decision on administration needs to form part of a coherent overall approach to the introduction of a PELA, and will require input from experts in language assessment.