Academic language support for at-risk students: REACHing further

Dashwood, Ann and Son, Jeong-Bae (2017) Academic language support for at-risk students: REACHing further. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 11 (1). pp. 58-70.

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In the Australian higher education context, academic language competence is one of the keys to success for students in their degree programs. Students with underdeveloped communication skills in the relevant discourse community are at risk of not meeting minimum standards in their university courses. REACH (Retention – English for Academic Completion Help) is a set of aca-demic language modules embedding relevant language strategies into course content related to course assessment. It was developed at an Australian uni-versity for students at risk of not continuing their participation through failure in a first-year course. This article outlines the REACHing Further stage of the REACH project and presents data collected for part of the evaluation of the REACH approach while discussing the distinctive contextual academic lan-guage support in the academic disciplines. REACHing Further increased ac-cessibility to the REACH modules online and provided an online facilitator. This article reports that those students who were engaged with the REACH modules generally valued the support and expressed the view that they would recommend others to participate in future. Although the overall engagement by the identified target group was low compared with the mainstream students in the courses selected, examiners and tutors of the target courses indicated that the REACH modules were well linked to the course materials and suggested that students should use them more actively. It is recommended that a more interactive, systematic and personalised approach needs to be attractively presented to the target groups and individuals while also researching effective ways of offering academic language support.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2017 A. Dashwood & J.-B. Son. Open Access Journal. This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 23 May 2017 06:08
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2018 01:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: academic language strategies, at-risk students, retention, English for academic purposes, academic writing, online resources
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
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