ScOLa aims to improve the effectiveness of the preparatory programme by designing and implementing projects. Projects are designed based on the needs of learners and the programme. Instructors, who are the implementers of the projects, are consulted during the planning and evaluation phases, and are able to take active roles in the project groups.
Writing Criteria Development Project
Writing Criteria Development Project was conducted between September, 2014 and September, 2015. The aim of the Writing Criteria Development Project was to understand the problems with the existing criteria and overcome its shortcomings by creating school-based analytical criteria. The initial institutional criteria had been previously developed using a theory-based approach, including the writing features (content, organization, grammar, and lexis) which formed the paragraph and essay writing construct in our context. However, in time, feedback collated from instructors and observations during writing standardization sessions revealed that there were problems in certain areas and there were mismatches between instructors’ understanding and expectations of the writing skill compared to the descriptors in the criteria.
The improvement process took on a data-driven approach. The project team worked on identifying and understanding the problems through questionnaires, focused group meetings, and by having experienced ScoLa instructors grade and justify the grades of a number of real student papers using a tool created by the project team. Therefore, the descriptors in the revised criteria were grounded on the commonly expressed justifications of instructors. By the end of this process, an improved version of the institutional writing criteria was developed.
BLC (Blended Learning Component) Project
BLC Project aims to maximize the amount of English that our students study outside the class. In addition to the regular contact hours that students must be present in the class at each level at ScOLa, extra study opportunity is offered to the students with this project. Each week students are assigned one supplementary reading and listening in line with the theme of the unit that they study in the class that week. Coupled with that, students are also provided with vocabulary quizzes related to all the materials that they study in and outside the class. As all these supplementary reading texts, listening materials and quizzes are done online through our LMS (Learning Management System), students have the freedom and flexibility to complete them wherever they want. All they need is a computer, tablet or smartphone with internet connection. This approach which blends in-class study with outside-the-class, enables both teachers and students to save time for more efficient learning.
Curriculum Renewal Project
ScOLa Curriculum Renewal project aimed to improve our students’ language learning by revising the existing curriculum to meet the needs of 21st century language learners. During this process, strengths and weaknesses of the Preparatory English Program were identified based on the feedback continuously collected from students and instructors throughout the courses. In addition, cooperation with faculty lecturers and undergraduates provided us with valuable information about the recent language skills necessary for academic studies. To this end, we shifted from an 8-week modular system to a 16-week semester system. Levels were redesigned as A2, B1, and B2.
At the end of A2 level, students can
understand short texts (written and spoken) on general and familiar topics with high frequency vocabulary and everyday expressions.
produce simple texts (written and spoken) on familiar topics provided that the task and content of the production are predictable.
interact in simple and routine tasks that require a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
At the end of B1 level, students
understand straightforward and clearly structured texts (written and spoken) on general topics (e.g. health, business, education, technology).
produce straightforward and coherent texts (written and spoken) on general topics.
interact in familiar situations with some confidence, although there may be breakdowns in communication.
At the end of B2 level, students
Can understand main information, arguments, ideas, and details of relatively complex and long texts (written and spoken) on a wide range of topics encountered in personal, social, academic, and vocational lives. Texts may be of concrete or abstract nature.
Can produce clear, detailed, fluent, and well-structured texts (written and spoken) on a wide range of topics appropriate for their purposes (e.g. developing an argument, presenting a viewpoint).
Can interact fluently, naturally, and spontaneously in tasks and situations that are less predictable. Can extend his/her ideas and sustain the communication in an interactive exchange. There may be minor breakdowns in communication.
The vocabulary project aims to increase the effectiveness of the vocabulary strand at ScOLa. The aim of the project is to base the selection of words taught in the programme on the most frequent words in the English language. The lexis strand of the ScOLa syllabus was designed accordingly and aims to teach learners in the programme the most frequent 3000 words in English, including the Academic Word List (AWL), in context.
"My Coursework Diary" (MCD) Project
My Coursework Diary is a learning portfolio that learners keep throughout their studies at ScOLa. It consists of tasks that are completed within a course. Besides serving as an on-going assessment tool, it also aims to help learners plan and evaluate their own learning, and to keep record of the student’s English language abilities and progress throughout ScOLa.