Thomas Roche, Southern Cross University
Benchmarking EAP Written Assessment with the CEFR

In the Australian higher education sector, there is often debate about the English language proficiency standards of our international students.

This paper presents a brief overview of a nation-wide initiative assessing the language standards of Direct Entry and ELICOS pathway programs. The presentation shares learnings from UECA’s Benchmarking Project involving some 60 assessors from 20 Australian University Centres using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to externally validate university partners’ writing assessments and international student work samples. The session will explore the advantages and challenges of using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) as a tool for benchmarking samples of students’ EAP written work. The session will also provide the opportunity for participants to engage in an exercise of assessing written work sample using the CEFR.

A/Professor Thomas Roche is the Director of SCU College, Southern Cross University. He is a specialist in the design, management and delivery of higher education pathways for students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Thomas’ primary research interests are in academic literacies, L2 assessment and curriculum design. He is currently co-lead of the 2018-2019 University English Centres Australia (UECA) national Benchmarking Project, leading 60 academics across 20 Australian universities to establish Direct Entry program benchmarking practices of institutional processes, curricula, learning outcomes, assessment items and program outcomes against the 2018 ELICOS standards.