Several students who enrolled on a Languages For All course for credit were informed they had to move up a level midway through the term.
The students were contacted in Week 6 after it “became clear” that a number of them were taking a level which “might be lower than appropriate”.
In total, eight of the twenty-seven students taking a Level One Plus or Level Two Plus language course for credit were found to be studying at a level that was “too low” for their existing knowledge.
Six of these agreed to switch to a different class, whilst the other two were allowed to continue to study at their current level after their situations were brought to the attention of the Special Cases Committee.
One of the students who was allowed to stay in the same class told Nouse: “I found out about this via an urgent email sent after I had my LFA supervisor meeting.
“I replied as soon as possible, but the experience was very worry[ing], as I would have had to go up a level in my German LFA which would have meant more work.
“I was also worried about what might happen if I were to decide that I couldn’t do German Level Two – obviously you can’t pick up another degree module in Week 8 of term.
“To be honest, there might be other factors that led to this slowness in response. I feel disappointed with the speed at which LFA got back to me: the first email was on November 5th, and the solution came on the 19th. That’s two weeks, for an urgent (their words) matter.
“There were summative assassments being handed in for academic modules I might have had to start in Week Eight and I had assessments to turn in myself for my other modules, so that added to the pressure.”
A spokesperson from the LFA department said: “There are certain restrictions on the levels of LFA course students with prior language qualifications can take.
“These restrictions are in place to ensure parity for students and to avoid simply accrediting language learning done elsewhere.
“It would not normally be permissible for instance for a student to take a course for credit at a level lower than that of a language qualification already achieved.
“All students considering taking an LFA module for credit are requested to attend a one-hour information session in Week 1 where LFA staff explain how LFA for credit works, and answer any queries.”
It was said to be “normal” for there to be students who have to move up or down a level in the first three weeks of teaching as some of them register for classes which do not match their previous language qualification or experience.
The LFA spokesperson explained it can take a “little time” for tutors to realise this before saying that students who opt to learn a langage for credit would receive clearer guidance in future.
They said: “We are… liaising with departments to ensure that additional checks are put in place earlier in the term – and on both sides – to monitor students’ qualifications and registration to the appropriate level of course.”
George Offer, Academic Officer, told Nouse: “LFA courses are an excellent way to support and add to your degree at York and I’d always encourage students to enrol on a course suited to them, courses are levelled to ensure students’ language skills are being stretched and improved, and so students are learning alongside others of similar capabilities.”
This year, 1,827 students enrolled on an LFA course, an increase of approximately 3 per cent compared to last year. Just under 10 per cent of these students are taking LFA classes for credit.