Australian universities need to comply with the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework, which includes Threshold Standards. Of particular relevance to student language proficiency are the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) Course Accreditation Standards 1.2, 3.2 and 5.6, which include the requirement that courses of study provide for the development of English language proficiency as a “key graduate attribute”. TEQSA is responsible for conducting Quality Assessments in higher education and will be focusing initially on English language proficiency. The Terms of Reference for the quality assessments are available from the TEQSA website. In summary, TEQSA will report on:
- Overall institutional strategies or philosophies
- Communication with prospective and current students on language issues
- Minimum English language entry levels
- Post-entry language development strategies and their evaluation
- Tracking and performance measures
- Processes used to identify those in need of particular language development assistance
- Descriptions of and monitoring of language outcomes
- English language proficiency as a graduate attribute.
In addition to the documentation provided by TEQSA, information on good practice is available through the Good Practice Principles for English Language Proficiency for International Students in Australian Universities. The Principles were developed through a project funded by the Australian government and managed by the Australian Universities Quality Agency. From these Good Practice Principles, the steering committee developed a set of six English Language Standards for Higher Education, available from the AALL website. These are the Standards that are used as a reference point in the examples of good practice on this website.