No new English tests: How revised standards will really affect ELICOS students

Australia’s international education peak bodies have set the record straight after information regarding revised standards to Australia’s ELICOS programs was widely misreported.

In a joint statement by these peak bodies, it was clarified that there would be no requirement for further standardised testing under the ELICOS National Standards 2018 and education providers will still set their own English language requirements for enrolment. Furthermore, the revised standards would not change existing visa requirements to study in Australia, nor the pathways to further study.

“It is important that potential students understand this will not make it harder to study in Australia,” the joint statement clarified.

“The main change amends the definition of an ELICOS course to bring all registered intensive English language courses within the scope of the ELICOS standards.”

Announcements made by Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham in October were misinterpreted, the joint statement suggested.

CEO of International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), Phil Honeywood emphasised that no new test requirement would be imposed on international students.

What will actually be required from next year is that all public and private colleges teaching ELICOS will be required to benchmark their usual test and academic progress results with other colleges,” Mr Honeywood stated.

“This is a world’s best practice initiative designed to ensure that overseas students are being taught at the highest possible level so they can have confidence that the tuition fees they have paid will be spent on quality teaching”.

In addition to these new benchmarking practices, Mr Honeywood also stated the “out-of-date vocational certificate system” which “some ELICOS colleges have used to get around the stricter quality control procedures that have been in place for all ELICOS courses taught in Australia” will no longer be allowable from 2018.

English Australia CEO Brett Blacker, in a media release added “that the Australian ELICOS sector is highly recognised globally for [its] course accreditation processes and the quality of educational delivery with a low prevalence of compliance issues, and the sector has been well served by the standards to date”.

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