Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery/Clinical Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre
Widening participation has enabled access to higher education for an increasing number of students via a range of non-traditional pathways. Consequently, whilst having a large repertoire of skills and experience, these students may not have developed sufficient competence in academic literacy. The School of Nursing and Midwifery has a large proportion of such students who have difficulty making the academic transition to university study. It is believed that a ‘built in’ approach to supporting these students to develop academic literacy will result in an improvement in their abilities to meet the requirements of the University and to better prepare them to graduate. This paper discusses the piloting of an Academic Literary Education Course (ALEC) for undergraduate students enrolled in the first semester unit of a three year health degree, within the disciplines of nursing and paramedical science. The students completed tests on academic literacy before and after completion of the ALEC. Particular areas of difficulty for students were found to be in referencing and unpacking the assessment question. When mean scores were compared between pre and post-tests in the same group, it was found there was a significant difference between scores at t value = -7,721, degrees of freedom = 181 with a p value of 0.000 or p value < .001. Recommendations include incorporating the ALEC approach in further stages of the undergraduate degree program to support developing levels of academic literacy.