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Guidance issued on English language admissions

12 February 2019

Higher education and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) providers have a new resource available to them, outlining the expectations of the higher education sector regulator in relation to ELICOS direct entry pathways.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) developed the resource in partnership with English Australia, the national peak body for the English language sector of international education, and NEAS, a globally recognised body that provides quality assurance services to English language training providers.

The Guidance Note: ELICOS Direct Entry, focuses on TEQSA’s expectations of providers offering ELICOS programs provided under a direct entry arrangement to tertiary study, and the responsibility of higher education providers directly admitting students from an ELICOS. 

TEQSA chief executive Anthony McClaran said that the newly released guidance note was an important way of offering greater clarity in the interpretation and application of relevant standards, which ultimately protect students and English language standards in Australian higher education.

“ELICOS direct entry pathways are an important way for international students to access Australia’s vibrant higher education sector, and this guidance is a vital way of ensuring all providers are aware of their responsibilities”, said Mr McClaran.

English Australia chief executive Brett Blacker said that the strong collaborative approach that TEQSA took with this guidance note represents a positive way of working with industry, and English Australia welcomes these opportunities. 

“We were happy to play an active role in drafting this note with TEQSA and to work with other key industry organisations, NEAS and the University English Language Centres Australia (UECA) on this valuable resource. 

Our sector is committed to delivering Direct Entry Programs of the highest quality and this guidance note supports providers to achieve that aim”, said Mr Blacker.

The Guidance Note: ELICOS Direct Entry focuses on the requirements of the recently revised ELICOS Standards 2018, and the Higher Education Standards Framework, and also includes potential risks to quality. 

In particular, the guidance note focuses on the need for comparable assessment outcomes, which align ELICOS direct entry pathways with other entry mechanisms and English language testing. Also covered is the need for higher education providers to be able to show how they have satisfied themselves that claims of comparability (e.g. IELTS) made by an ELICOS provider are credible.

TEQSA’s Guidance Note: ELICOS Direct Entry has been released in beta form, and the agency welcomes questions or feedback on the resource to ensure it is fit for purpose. 

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