Proof of ability 1

April 14, 2006

Accusations about "spoon-feeding gone mad" in response to Bradford Univer-sity's list of proofreaders rather miss the point ("Fluency can be all yours... for a small fee", April 7).

If students come to the UK to study for a degree in business and management, the test of their accomplishments at the end of their studies should lie in their competence in the discipline and not whether they are fluent in British academic writing.

Little formal evaluation of English language capability is incorporated into assessment practices in UK business schools, yet it is fairly widely acknowledged that Anglophone lecturers tend to stereotype second-language English speaking students as poorer than those who are fluent, irrespective of their capability.

If English language skills form part of the assessment criteria, and if English language is incorporated as part of the curriculum, then the use of proofreaders would be unacceptable. This is rarely the case.

Until lecturers are better equipped to read the substance behind the style in student work, using proofreaders seems a logical strategy for students who want to show how capable their minds are.

Yvonne Turner
Newcastle upon Tyne University

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