Journal of Academic Language and Learning, Vol 6, No 2 (2012)

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Financial reporting: Towards socially inclusive support for international students

Sally Ann Ashton-Hay, Roslyn Roberts

Abstract


Recent government initiatives emphasise the need for social inclusion in higher education to enhance participation, learning outcomes and increase retention rates. Australian Indigenous students, socioeconomically disadvantaged and non-English speaking migrants are included, yet operational strategies for supportive programs related to international students and partner institutions with varying standards, advanced standing course credits, and academic and assessment literacy gaps are not. The challenges faced by international students in higher education have been well documented (Doherty & Singh, 2005; Louie, 2005; Ryan & Carroll, 2005; Taylor, 2011) and continue to stimulate ongoing policy and practice innovation. While new government policies define appropriate procedures, few evidence-based studies have been published to show indicators and measures of success. This paper focuses on a collaborative program initiated by an Australian university to support international accounting students from an offshore partner institution. An online content-specific workshop and a face-to-face academic language and learning skills workshop targeted a major assignment in Financial Reporting. The aim of the program was to highlight sustainable and inclusive practice, enhance assignment outcomes and improve on previously high failure rates for international students enrolled in the course. Assignment results show statistically significant evidence that targeted support is beneficial for international students, especially those in offshore partner programs. Inclusive practice is socially responsible, sustainable, and creates positive impact for English language learners.

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