The impact of an embedded academic literacy approach on international student transition to an Australian university
International students face numerous obstacles, the greatest of which, in terms of academic success, can be a lack of academic literacy skills. Embedding literacy skill tuition into the curriculum has been advocated as the most effective way to address this need, but there is a dearth of literature into international students’ impressions of embedded literacy programs. This exploratory study aims to address that gap and provide much-needed data on international students’ perceptions of an embedded approach to academic literacies at an Australian university. A mixed method design was applied with 203 students completing the same survey before and after the embedded sessions. Statistical and focus group analysis show that students perceived an increase in their confidence in their academic literacy skills ability post-intervention. Students who were less confident about their skills before the embedded sessions were more likely to perceive improvement from them, whilst analysis suggests that students who were more confident about their skills before the embedded sessions benefited from them through a re-alignment of perceived and actual competence. Confidence in some skills improved more than others, with referencing rated as the most improved. Students also identified other positive facets of the program, including unit-specific materials, a student-centred pedagogical approach, and transferable skills. As a result of these findings, embedding academic literacy skills into a core unit of study is recommended to support international students during their transition to university.