Overseas master’s student asks why she was allowed on to course

Postgraduate claims that her English was not up to scratch

August 28, 2014

Source: Alamy

Jumbled up: a ‘simple typo’ led to the student being offered a place

In a debate about whether a student’s English is up to the standard required for admittance to a UK university, you might expect the student to be the one doing most of the arguing about passing muster.

Not so at the University of Warwick, where a recent international master’s student who failed to gain the qualification has claimed that she should never have been admitted in the first place because her English skills did not meet the standard demanded by the institution.

Warwick disagrees.

The student, who asked not to be named, was originally told in 2010 that in order to be accepted on to the course, she would need to achieve BBC on the Warwick English Language Test – an examination designed to assess overseas students’ English proficiency.

However, after sitting the test at a centre in Pakistan and achieving BCC, one grade lower than required, the student’s offer was changed to “unconditional”, allowing her to take up a place.

“I do not understand why Warwick printed the admission criteria…and followed a different standard,” the student told Times Higher Education.

She admitted that because she had been busy applying to a number of universities and wanted to secure a place, she originally opted to “ignore” the error.

She now feels that she was accepted for financial reasons – namely, the fact that she would be paying high international fees.

However, a spokesman for Warwick confirmed that although the student was offered admission if they attained BBC in the WELT exam, a “simple typo” by overseas colleagues meant that the university was under the impression that she had in fact attained the necessary grade. This had led to her being admitted, he added.

“The student does not seem to have queried the error at that time,” the spokesman said, adding that the WELT was no longer used by the university.

He also pointed out that a score of 6.5 on the British Council International English Language Testing System would have been deemed sufficient for admission, and that both BCC and BBC in WELT equate to that grade.

Despite this, according to the WELT handbook, a student achieving BBC can be expected to have a “fairly good command of academic English…[although] some further language support may be seen as beneficial”.

Meanwhile, a BCC student is deemed to exhibit merely “satisfactory command of academic English…some further language support is likely to be necessary”.

chris.parr@tesglobal.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Reader's comments (2)

6.5 in ielts isn't really enough to cope with academic study, I think there should be a minimum of 7 in ielts to attend any degree course, less than that leaves international students at a real disadvantage to non native speakers of English
Sorry that should have read: to native speakers of English

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Professor-Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Senior Procurement Officer UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND
Clinician, Small Animal Emergency Services UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Director COVENTRY UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest

Microlight pilot flies with flock of cranes

Reports of UK-based researchers already thinking of moving overseas after Brexit vote