IELTS and Academic Success in Higher Education: A UAE Perspective

Kevin Schoepp, Dawn Garinger


This study compares the relationship between International English Language Testing System (IELTS) entrance scores and academic success as defined by general education program GPA for students at a federal university in the United Arab Emirates in order to reflect upon regional English language proficiency entrance requirements. It focuses on one group of students, direct entry students who have bypassed the English language foundation program with an overall IELTS 6.0 or greater and were admitted straight into the baccalaureate program. Students were grouped according to their IELTS proficiency levels: 6.0, 6.5 or ≥7.0. Measures of central tendency for overall GPA and academic-stream-specific GPA, along with the overall IELTS and the corresponding sub-scores were calculated. To test the statistical significance of any mean score GPA differences that existed between the 3 IELTS groups, a One-Way ANOVA was calculated. Based on the statistical analyses, the IELTS ≥7.0 group appears to have achieved a meaningful threshold for academic success in that they have consistently outperformed the other direct entry students. This finding corresponds to international entrance-requirement standards for non-native speakers of English.



IELTS, Academic success, Higher Education, United Arab Emirates, English proficiency

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