B. Vivian, L. Malan

University of Pretoria (SOUTH AFRICA)
In a rapidly evolving and expanding tertiary landscape, and given the history of unequal systems of education internationally, students registering for first year programmes have varying levels of academic literacy. Thus, ensuring throughput by developing academic support for first year students is a global issue for tertiary institutions. Similarly, it was seen as imperative to provide academic literacy support for students registering for the BAdmin (Public Administration) degree program at a South African residential university. This unique degree caters for the working individual who is committed towards achieving excellence in the Public Sector and is offered on a block release basis which allows professionals to study towards their degree while pursuing their careers. Apart from the university endorsement admission requirement for the degree, individuals may also be allowed into the program through the submission of an age exemption certificate issued by Universities South Africa. As a result, students registering for the program have varied levels of academic literacy. The paper provides the theoretical rationale for embedding academic literacy interventions in a subject-specific discipline and the researchers analyse whether a standardised academic literacy assessment was an accurate predictor of student success/failure for a group of mature first year Public Administration students within the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. This paper further elaborates on the relationship between discipline-specific lecturers and the academic writing specialist and evaluates the success of embedded academic literacy interventions paying particular attention to how instructional scaffolding and technology enhanced strategies were applied in order to address the identified academic literacy needs of these students. This paper concludes with practical suggestions on implementing discipline embedded academic literacy interventions for working students studying toward a degree.