Improving writing practices of students’ academic literacy development

  • Desireé Scholtz
Keywords: Academic literacy, academic writing, lecturer expectations, summative assessments


Lecturers’ teaching practices often leave indelible impressions on students’ learning development. Students tend to respond to expectations that lecturers set, which might limit or extend the boundaries of learning. Given that not all students might access higher education with the requisite level of academic readiness to respond to the academic demands of first year studies, lecturers’ academic literacy requirements and practices contribute to setting the tone for reading and writing in higher education. This article draws on lecturers’ expectations of writing practices for the first-year subjects they teach to explore how academic literacy development for higher education might be supported or limited. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with lecturers to gain insight into writing skills and practices required for their respective subjects. Written summative assessments were analysed to determine whether lecturers’ perspectives of writing aligned with assessment expectations. This study provides support for the contention that lecturers’ play a significant role in nurturing or limiting students’ academic writing development. The findings suggest that academic writing practices that lecturers espouse have ramifications for how students access and articulate knowledge not only at first year level, but for vertical progression through the years of study.

Keywords: Academic literacy; academic writing; lecturer expectations; summative assessments


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eISSN: 0259-9570