Academic Programs Committee ReportsUNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN COUNCIL
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS COMMITTEE
REQUEST FOR DECISION
PRESENTED BY: Bob Lucas, Chair, Academic Programs Committee
DATE OF MEETING:April 18, 2002
SUBJECT: English Proficiency for Admission
That Council approve the reinstatement of the requirement that students meet the English proficiency requirement for all forms of admission, and that this be implemented as soon as possible.
For the past 30 years, all forms of admission to the U of S required a demonstration of English Proficiency. This requirement can be demonstrated in various ways, including completion of two years in an English-speaking high school, completion of the TOEFL, completion of specified ESL (English as a Second Language) courses, or completion of 18 credit units in university courses.
In the early 1990s, students whose first language was not English had been unreasonably delayed in their university admission due to lack of opportunity to demonstrate their English proficiency. At that time, the TOEFL test was offered only three times a year and the U of S had no ESL programs. Therefore the Registrarï¿½s Office proposed a rule change that Open Admission students be exempted from the English proficiency requirement, so that students could begin their university studies. Open Admission allows any student to complete 6 credit units per session as an Unclassified Studies student.
In the intervening years, the ESL program has been developed by the Centre for Second Language Instruction; students can demonstrate English proficiency and enter university with a score of 50 in EAP (English for Academic Purposes) program. As well, the TOEFL is now offered monthly. So students are not now delayed in entering university due to lack of opportunity to demonstrate their English proficiency.
The Unclassified Studies Faculty Council has requested that the English proficiency requirement be reinstated for Open Admission. Open Admission students have been taking as many as 18 credit units in a calendar year. Approximately 200 of these Open Admission students are now taking classes without demonstrated proficiency in English. Students whose English proficiency is poor have limited chance for academic success, even in courses in the maths and sciences where the oral and written English comprehension level is different from that of courses in the humanities and social sciences. The USFA has said that complaints have been made from colleges about students who do not have sufficient English proficiency to complete their courses.
The Academic Programs Committee agreed that cumulative policy changes have inadvertently created a two-tiered situation, and as a result we are setting students up for failure. The reinstatement of the English proficiency requirement for all forms of admission will resolve this issue.
The Committee also has noted, however, that some students have already been admitted for September, 2002 based on the existing policy, and some students are already here taking courses based on this policy. Therefore changing the policy would likely not be possible until the September, 2003 admissions, and existing students would be ï¿½grandfatheredï¿½. The Registrarï¿½s Office will review the existing situation to determine when a policy change could be implemented.
ATTACHMENT: Memo from Unclassified Studies Faculty Council, Feb. 13, 2002.