Academic literacy for science: a starting point for recurriculation
English for Specific Purposes courses are taught at many universities around the world and also play a critical role in the South African context. There is limited transparency and therefore little agreement regarding what the curricula of such courses should include. The aim of this study was to start a conversation about which academic abilities are essential for academic success by describing and evaluating the proposed outcomes of two academic literacy (AL) courses for science students at a South African university. The courses were examined by comparing the abilities addressed in each course to an extensive checklist of general AL abilities. The four year programme course was found to cover most of these AL abilities sufficiently, but the weight of several features warranted reassessment. The three-year programme course addressed fewer of these AL abilities and the weighting of several AL abilities also needed to be reassessed. The findings suggest that the four-year extended programme course curriculum offers the better AL foundation as it appears to be more successful in sufficiently addressing a variety of AL abilities. Should the learning outcomes of the two programmes be more closely aligned, students from both programmes entering second year would be equally prepared. However, it would seem that both courses would benefit from further analysis, for example feedback from various stakeholders, and consequent recurriculation.
Keywords: English for science and technology, English for specific purposes, academic literacy, curriculum development