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Passing failed students at UC?

By johnboy - 16 April 2012 55

The Australian is running more leaks out of the University of Canberra journalism school, this time a tutor Lynne Minion expressing her displeasure at being asked to pass Chinese exchange students:

Crispin Hull, a former Canberra Times editor, and course convenor, advised a UC tutor to pass two students in their journalism assignments, despite her objections.

Hull wrote in an email that he took a “pragmatic view” about the poor English of overseas students, explaining it was a case of “grinning and bearing” it.

“They will return to China and never practise journalism in Australia,” he wrote.

“If these assignments had been produced by a native English speaker who might be let loose with a UC degree on the Australian journalism scene, I would fail them. But that this (sic) not the case.

“I think it best to give them a flat pass without breaking it up. Tell them their English expression needs a lot of further work. It is a question of grinning and bearing it.”

[If the Oz’s paywall is giving you trouble try clicking from google.

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HenryBG 10:28 am 17 Apr 12

devils_advocate said :

…some possible solutions could be a) suggest they focus on an academic stream that doesn’t focus so much on english language skills, such as economics, maths, computing etc b) make them aware of the hurdle they have to get over and suggest they devote additional time to gaining proficiency in the language c) make it clear that they could fail (last one probably not realistic but anyway).

Are you suggesting that students, having just completed 12 years of pre-tertiary studies, might choose to enrol into an Australian Uni without suspecting that English will be required?

If so, then I guess the Australian taxpayer will be overjoyed at the opportunity to spend money on hiring people to hold their hands and wipe their bums for them.

devils_advocate 10:10 am 17 Apr 12

HenryBG said :

So what are you agreeing on here? Being bad at something should mean you get marked up for it? Is that the logic?

No, and nothing in either post suggests that. If it is recognised that students from some backgrounds might have particular difficulty learning english, some possible solutions could be a) suggest they focus on an academic stream that doesn’t focus so much on english language skills, such as economics, maths, computing etc b) make them aware of the hurdle they have to get over and suggest they devote additional time to gaining proficiency in the language c) make it clear that they could fail (last one probably not realistic but anyway).

HenryBG 9:58 am 17 Apr 12

devils_advocate said :

noma said :

from my personal experience, I have tried learning a new language before travelling overseas and know how difficult it can be, so I am sympathetic towards the international students who would have the same language barriers when it comes to learning English. It’s definitely not something that can be learnt overnight. But takes years of practice, persistence and resilience

I think also it’s a particular, additional difficulty between asian languages versus english. Because the sentence structure for chinese languages, for example, is almost exactly opposite that of english, I found it super hard to get the hang of the grammar, and I presume it’s the same going the other way. Also, english doesn’t have a super-huge reliance on tones to convey meaning, but there are so many quirky grammatical rules that don’t have analogues in asian languages, I’m sure that’s another huge hurdle.

So what are you agreeing on here? Being bad at something should mean you get marked up for it? Is that the logic?

I might go and enrol for a course at the Sorbonne and demand HDs on account of being too lazy and stupid to learn French. How do you reckon that will go?

devils_advocate 9:30 am 17 Apr 12

noma said :

from my personal experience, I have tried learning a new language before travelling overseas and know how difficult it can be, so I am sympathetic towards the international students who would have the same language barriers when it comes to learning English. It’s definitely not something that can be learnt overnight. But takes years of practice, persistence and resilience

I think also it’s a particular, additional difficulty between asian languages versus english. Because the sentence structure for chinese languages, for example, is almost exactly opposite that of english, I found it super hard to get the hang of the grammar, and I presume it’s the same going the other way. Also, english doesn’t have a super-huge reliance on tones to convey meaning, but there are so many quirky grammatical rules that don’t have analogues in asian languages, I’m sure that’s another huge hurdle.

devils_advocate 9:27 am 17 Apr 12

p1 said :

The vast majority of lawyers are doing housing sales, appearing for DUIs and the like. Only a very small percentage are exploring the finer points of constitutional law in the high court. Think of it like most of them are electricians, only a few are working in high energy particle physics.

^This.

devils_advocate 9:26 am 17 Apr 12

I-filed said :

Er, access to enough money to buy a small internet site is not big-arse $$$, sorry.

Probably enough money to buy a sense of irony though.

poetix 11:13 pm 16 Apr 12

‘Minion’ is a great name for a university tutor. Mind you, ‘Crispin Hull’ is almost good enough for Dickens.

I-filed 10:51 pm 16 Apr 12

Spykler said :

Spot on, my degree is from UC and I am on Big-arse $$$- I could buy this site 5 times over..

Er, access to enough money to buy a small internet site is not big-arse $$$, sorry.

Spykler 10:30 pm 16 Apr 12

Mr Waffle said :

devils_advocate said :

If you want a uni degree that means something, don’t go to UC.
Kthnxbai.

Wasn’t it announced the other day in the news that UC has one of the best employment-after-graduation rates in the country? Seems to mean something, then…

Spot on, my degree is from UC and I am on Big-arse $$$- I could buy this site 5 times over..

I-filed 7:18 pm 16 Apr 12

noma said :

It is a standard practice to mark international students’ papers more leniently in the areas such as language coherence and fluency.
People travel to Australia to study because the universities have a good reputation, and it helps significantly with job prospects.
Unfortunately, for those who began learning a new language in a new country it is a very difficult and tedious task which involves constantly learning new vocabulary, grammatical structure and fluency of expression.
from my personal experience, I have tried learning a new language before travelling overseas and know how difficult it can be, so I am sympathetic towards the international students who would have the same language barriers when it comes to learning English. It’s definitely not something that can be learnt overnight. But takes years of practice, persistence and resilience

That’s all very well, but I have had the experience of being marked down at UC in favour of Chinese students who had produced illiterate work. It was a joke: I had produced work to my usual standard, but the lecturer (non-Australian and well known for favouring OS students) marked a totally illiterate piece a high distinction and gave mine a credit (a lower mark than usual). I read the other student’s assignment and the HD was a nonsense. That particular teacher was always attempting to avoid submitting her students to exam conditions – no prizes for guessing why.

c_c 5:48 pm 16 Apr 12

Ko. said :

Law is a vocational course.
Engineering is a vocational course.
Architecture is a vocational course.
Medicine is a vocational course.

The only thing that isn’t really a vocational course is Fine Arts because it never leads to a job.

None of those are intrinsically vocational. Vocation refers to something to which one is exceptional qualified for or is specially attracted to.

There are plenty of students in all those areas who are neither specially drawn nor particular good at it.

More to the point is referring to something as vocational/trade firmly places it in the real of TAFE like subjects. And while a great many in the legal and medical professions do tasks that could be considered it, a great many also work in higher level, more complex areas requiring much more theoretical grasps of the subject.

noma 5:23 pm 16 Apr 12

It is a standard practice to mark international students’ papers more leniently in the areas such as language coherence and fluency.
People travel to Australia to study because the universities have a good reputation, and it helps significantly with job prospects.
Unfortunately, for those who began learning a new language in a new country it is a very difficult and tedious task which involves constantly learning new vocabulary, grammatical structure and fluency of expression.
from my personal experience, I have tried learning a new language before travelling overseas and know how difficult it can be, so I am sympathetic towards the international students who would have the same language barriers when it comes to learning English. It’s definitely not something that can be learnt overnight. But takes years of practice, persistence and resilience

HenryBG 5:21 pm 16 Apr 12

Ko. said :

Law is a vocational course.
Engineering is a vocational course.
Architecture is a vocational course.
Medicine is a vocational course.

The only thing that isn’t really a vocational course is Fine Arts because it never leads to a job.

Er, and the main thing Universities do that is of worth: Science.

I’m not surprised you didn’t think of science, after all, Universities have been hacking back on Science in order to fit in as many illiterate foreign students they can dishonestly pass in meaningless courses as they can.

Ko. 4:24 pm 16 Apr 12

Law is a vocational course.
Engineering is a vocational course.
Architecture is a vocational course.
Medicine is a vocational course.

The only thing that isn’t really a vocational course is Fine Arts because it never leads to a job.

astrojax 4:24 pm 16 Apr 12

HenryBG said :

c_c said :

It’s safe to assume the ANU, given it’s traditional focus on postgraduate and research programs, …

But they still haven’t completed any research into apostrophe illiteracy among graduates.

sssh, they are – you may have just contaminated a sample… 🙂

p1 4:15 pm 16 Apr 12

c_c said :

devils_advocate said :

…vocational/trade based qualifications, such as law…

You’d better be joking.

The vast majority of lawyers are doing housing sales, appearing for DUIs and the like. Only a very small percentage are exploring the finer points of constitutional law in the high court. Think of it like most of them are electricians, only a few are working in high energy particle physics.

HenryBG 3:40 pm 16 Apr 12

c_c said :

It’s safe to assume the ANU, given it’s traditional focus on postgraduate and research programs, …

But they still haven’t completed any research into apostrophe illiteracy among graduates.

c_c 3:29 pm 16 Apr 12

devils_advocate said :

…vocational/trade based qualifications, such as law…

You’d better be joking.

astrojax 3:19 pm 16 Apr 12

devils_advocate said :

Well there is a certain amount of english language skill that is required in order to do good journalism.

well, if they practice journalism in an english language-speaking society… as was my point.

EvanJames 3:03 pm 16 Apr 12

Mr Waffle said :

devils_advocate said :

If you want a uni degree that means something, don’t go to UC.
Kthnxbai.

Wasn’t it announced the other day in the news that UC has one of the best employment-after-graduation rates in the country? Seems to mean something, then…

Yes, because UCan is the university equivalent of TAFE, they train people to do jobs. Universities are meant to be a whole lot more than that.

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