International students at the University of Tasmania will receive more support and admissions will be scrutinised more closely as the result of an external review of admissions practices.
A review of UTAS' international students' admissions practices was released on Thursday following a review process underway since May.
The review was commissioned by UTAS vice-chancellor Rufus Black at the same time a Four Corners report that examined the use of medium of instruction letters at Australian universities aired.
The report exposed the use of MOI letters at many universities, including UTAS, who have been accepting them as proof of English language proficiency, instead of the standard testing.
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After the Four Corners report, Professor Black announced medium of instruction letters would no longer be used as evidence of a potential international student's English proficiency at UTAS.
There were 19 recommendations made in the review, which was conducted by Professor Hilary Winchester.
She found that international students admitted under the MOI admissions practice "performed more poorly and have higher failure rates than those admitted on formal entry tests of English proficiency."
However, overall, Professor Winchester said UTAS' policies and approach was sound and praised its move towards a data-driven approach to admissions and performance.
"UTAS has adopted an evidence-based and data-driven approach, which has required forensic analysis of student performance and will need to form the basis of regular cohort reporting in the future for both management and governance purposes," Professor Winchester said in the report.
All 18 recommendations have been supported and adopted by UTAS, with some already in place and others to be implemented by the end of the year.
Professor Black said the report would help UTAS move towards supporting its international student community towards success in their studies.
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"International students help to create a diverse student population and they are an important resource for population strategies," Professor Black said.
He said UTAS would look to implementing specific English language courses and more support for those students in particular areas of study where the language was integral to success.
In addition, UTAS will also reinstate the Admissions Committee, another of the report's recommendations, to oversee the admissions process for international students.
The report noted UTAS had experienced considerable growth in international students since 2016 but it was still lower than the proportion of other Australian universities.
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"The rapid growth, however, has brought into question admission standards, especially in relation to English language proficiency and also the policy framework, support mechanisms and governance oversight for international students," the report read.
Another recommendation made in the report was to simplify the information contained on the UTAS international students website and to provide further documentation on the English standards.
The English Language Proficiency Policy, which covers a broad area, has not been reviewed since 2017 and Professor Winchester recommended this be done.
"If revised and implemented would form a very sound basis for an international student support policy," the report read.
Professor Black said the review had been helpful in gauging how the admissions process was functioning, where improvements could be made and also how well UTAS' international student cohort was performing.
"One thing the report noted, which we welcome, was that UTAS' international students are performing academically as well as our domestic students," Professor Black said.
The report, its findings and recommendations, along with UTAS' response to those recommendations, will be discussed by the UTAS Academic Senate at its meeting next Friday.