Identifying students requiring English language support: What role can a PELA play?

  • Anne Jillian Harris Edith Cowan University
Keywords: PELA, TEQSA, English language proficiency


The number of higher education providers implementing a post-entry English Language Assessment (PELA) has increased exponentially in the past six years. This uptake has been driven largely by the “Good Practice Principles”, the TEQSA Act 2011, and TEQSA’s Quality Assessment on English Language Proficiency. Evidence suggests that at least 50% of Australian universities now offer some form of PELA, but few compel students to complete it. This paper discusses four years of learning that took place in one university, beginning with trialling a range of PELAs through to the endorsement of a short written task in all undergraduate courses. It addresses potential matters of contention, analyses why the initial university-wide roll-out was problematic and highlights the need to link PELA outcomes with effective language and academic skills support. The paper puts forward a case for the continued adoption of a PELA and suggests how this can be achieved in a cost-effective and sound pedagogical manner.

Author Biography

Anne Jillian Harris, Edith Cowan University
Dr Anne Harris is a Senior Lecturer and the Project and Research Manager in the Teaching and Learning Office, Faculty of Business and Law at Edith Cowan University. She has been an academic for almost 20 years, initially lecturing within the Bachelor of Arts program in the Faculty of Education and Arts. She is involved in managing various teaching and learning projects, one of which is English Language Proficiency across the university.
How to Cite
HarrisA. J. (2013). Identifying students requiring English language support: What role can a PELA play?. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 7(2), A62-A78. Retrieved from