Current practices to support the development of oral and written communication skills of students include monitoring of admission requirements; diagnostic tools to assess English language proficiency at admission; curriculum mapping at unit and program level to align with AQF and professional accreditation requirements; the development of assessment rubrics; assessment moderation; applications to direct at-risk students to academic support; benchmarking activities and in some disciplines exit testing.
Citing the existence of these practices as evidence that the oral and written communication skills of students are taken care of is no longer acceptable. Rather the impact of each practice needs to be evidenced to determine its value to student learning and skill development. Furthermore with pressure on institutional resources to undertake and implement a range of practices, the identification of effective and high impact practices that will contribute to student development is necessary. A robust quality assurance process underpinning academic practice will yield evidence to enable institutions to demonstrate the impact of their practice on the oral and written communications skills of their graduates.
The Impact Assessment Tool can be used to assist in measuring the impact of each practice for the development and assurance of graduate communication skills. The Tool sets out the attributes of high impact practices for assuring and evidencing graduate communication skills. For each practice, institutions can measure the impact by considering the positive responses to the questions in the Tool. For each ‘no’ or ‘not sure’ answer, institutions can assess how best to shift practice towards ‘yes’ or review the practice entirely.