Document Type

Journal Article


Association for Academic Language Learning


Faculty of Business and Law


Office of Associate Dean - Teaching and Learning (FBL)




This article was originally published as: Harris, A. J. (2013). Identifying students requiring English language support: What role can a PELA play?. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 7(2), A62-A78. Original article available here


The number of higher education providers implementing a post-entry English Language Assessment (PELA) has increased exponentially in the past six years. This uptake has been driven largely by the “Good Practice Principles”, the TEQSA Act 2011, and TEQSA’s Quality Assessment on English Language Proficiency. Evidence suggests that at least 50% of Australian universities now offer some form of PELA, but few compel students to complete it. This paper discusses four years of learning that took place in one university, beginning with trialling a range of PELAs through to the endorsement of a short written task in all undergraduate courses. It addresses potential matters of contention, analyses why the initial university-wide roll-out was problematic and highlights the need to link PELA outcomes with effective language and academic skills support. The paper puts forward a case for the continued adoption of a PELA and suggests how this can be achieved in a cost-effective and sound pedagogical manner.

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