Language Learning and Academia: Can we match their levels? Ulrike Bavendiek SCHML workshop 25 January 2008
Credit and levels of learning (how hard?) Each credit level value has a level that indicates the relative difficulty of the learning involved. Eight credit levels are used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; of these levels 4 to 8 represent the types of work undertaken in HE. In many HE institutions, the equivalents start at level 1 (usually for the first year of full-time UG studies)
Credit level descriptors are guides that help identify the relative demand, complexity and depth of learning and learner autonomy expected at each level, and also indicate the differences between the levels. Academic credit in Higher Education in England; http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/FHEQ/academicCredit/AcademicCredit.pdf
Two examples of credit level descriptors Apply knowledge and skills in a range of complex activities demonstrating comprehension of relevant theories; access and analyse information independently and make reasoned judgements, selecting from a considerable choice of procedures, in familiar and unfamiliar contexts; and direct own activities, with some responsibility for the output of others (level 3)
Two examples of credit level descriptors II Develop a rigorous approach to the acquisition of a broad knowledge base; employ a range of specialised skills; evaluate information using it to plan and develop investigative strategies and to determine solutions to a variety of unpredicted problems; and operate in a range of varied and specific contexts, taking responsibility for the nature and quality of outputs (level 4) Credit guidelines for HE Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland http://www.nuccat.ac.uk/credit.htm
How do credit levels match proficiency levels (e.g. as described in the Common European Framework of Reference)?
The mismatch between language proficiency levels and accreditation levels • Languages can theoretically be learned at all levels, from Primary School to Postgraduate level. • Some European languages are traditionally offered at levels 2 and 3, starting at achievement level 1 (CEF), usually with the possibility to study up to achievement level B2 (CEF) (in schools).
In many HE institutions, students on Language Degree Courses start studying at least one of their languages from B2/C1 (CEF) level. • This is not required for languages not usually taught in schools, such as Japanese, Urdu, Arabic etc.
Some HE institutions try to match credit levels and language achievement levels. As a result, students especially on levels 5 and 6 cannot gain university credits for their language studies on lower achievement levels (A1 – B2 CEF)