The Need for Academic Writing Support for Undergraduates in an English Medium Tertiary Institution in Malaysia

Abstract

The status of English as a global language seems to be reinforced as there is a growing trend of Asian students seeking tertiary education in English-medium institutions in Asia. These institutions tend to set English language entry requirements based on standardised tests of English such as IELTS and TOEFL. However, these tests seldom reflect a true picture of the students’ academic writing capabilities. Consequently, the demands of academic writing in English-medium institutions pose a challenge to a significant portion of undergraduate students. It falls upon the shoulders of the institution, then, to provide the necessary academic writing support for students who require guidance in this area. As this form of support is supplementary, it is necessary to determine the specific areas of academic writing that are problematic for students. This study reports the results of an (ongoing) online needs-analysis survey of undergraduate students in a private English-medium university in Malaysia. The aim of this study is to explore students' perceptions of their abilities in basic and academic writing skills in English and to identify areas in which they may require language support. The results reveal that at least 50% of the students would seek assistance in writing assignments. The data also showed that the most commonly identified deficiencies were summarising, finding support or evidence for arguments and writing about abstract concepts. This paper concludes by discussing the implementation of an appropriate academic writing support course that fulfils the requirements of a range of academic disciplines.



Author Information
Timothy Wong, Monash University Malaysia, Malaysia
Rajani Chandra Mohan, Monash University Malaysia, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: CHER-HongKong2019
Stream: Globalisation

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