Building the benchmarks

June 2010


Facebook       Tweet

TIM FOWLER outlines English language course approval and accreditation

Courses developed by institutions in New Zealand training in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and those delivering English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) are based on a variety of material.

The most commonly used off-the-shelf programmes are those developed by the University of Cambridge and offered under licence from the university.

All courses developed in the tertiary education sector require applications to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority for course approval and accreditation and are analysed against criteria applying to universities, polytechnics, wananga, and private training establishments.

Once the course meets the criteria it is approved and the provider of the course is accredited. TESOL and ESOL courses are just one example of applications received by NZQA.

All tertiary education providers have moderation processes in place. For providers of TESOL courses, this will include internal checks on assessment within the course. If the course leads to an international award, for example Cambridge University’s certificate in teaching English language to adults (CELTA) then there will be checks made by the owner of the award.

NZQA doesn’t undertake specific monitoring of provider-developed courses, but a course may be a focus area for an external evaluation and review. External evaluation focuses most directly on:

the extent to which a provider systematically determines and addresses learner and wider community needs;

key processes contributing to the achievement of outcomes for learners;

quality of educational provision and its impact on learner progress and achievement;

achievement of outcomes for learners and the wider community (employers, industry, local or national interests);

effectiveness of the organisation’s self-assessment in understanding its own performance and using this for improvement.

By definition, anyone participating in a TESOL course is a student, even if they are currently teaching English as a second language. Each TESOL course is developed with a specific target student group in mind. The target group (with their current skills and knowledge) is identified in an application for course approval and accreditation, and the application is analysed in the context of the target group.

The criteria for course approval and accreditation can be found at: