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Nazarbayev University Foundation Program

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1 Nazarbayev University Foundation Program
Shigeo Katsu President October 2014

2 Overview Why does NU need the Foundation Program?
Overview of current Foundation Program Statistics of Students Applied, Accepted to Foundation Program and Progressed to NU Schools Student Support Services Assessment of the Current Foundation Program Main Features of the new Pre-University Program Preliminary model of admission process New Quality Assurance Framework Pros of implementing Foundation Program in universities on Kazakhstan’s way to K12 Implementation of Foundation Programs in universities: issues to be addressed Annex 1, 2

3 1. Why does NU need the Foundation Program?
Foundation program is offered to prepare students for: Academic, Research and Linguistic challenges they will meet at Nazarbayev University (hereinafter - NU) Undergraduate programs Secondary education of Kazakhstan (11 years) does not prepare students for studies in academic environment of NU which is built based on best international experiences of its partners Aims of the Foundation program are: smooth transition of students into English academic environment; to provide students with laboratory (hands-on) experience; to help students with understanding of academic integrity (cheating, plagiarism), study skills (note taking, proper citation), time management, self-study skills, etc.; a more informed choice of future degree programs Some Universities offer foundation programs to equip students who are not ready to enter a first degree course in the language of instruction. In the USA and the UK they are mainly taken by international students whose secondary education experiences were not rigorous or lacked integrity in assessment. Many of the students need strengthening in academic English and academic integrity. What Do They Look Like? Foundation programmes are usually based in the university and run for an academic year. The content is almost always presented in the language of instruction which is usually English. Some programs are generic and concentrate on academic English and study skills like critical thinking, logic and written communication. Others offer discipline specific content if fields like natural sciences; social sciences or humanities preparing students for particular degree programs like Medicine or Engineering. Broader based programs allow students to make a more informed choice of their first degree program while more focused programs give students a depth of knowledge in their field of study. Common features of both types of programs are A grounding in the key skills required for success in the first undergraduate year; Emphasis on study skills and written and oral communication; and Academic integrity, covering issues like correct citations and plagarism. There are different emphases in different subject areas. The Humanities tends to value synthesising material from a number of different sources and making a comparative and analytic comparison of their contents and providing critical commentary while the Sciences might stress the importance of designing and carrying out an experiment to test a hypothesis and making observations and field notes.

4 2. Overview of current Foundation Program
Nazarbayev University was established in 2009 and accepted first cohort of students (484 students) for the Preparatory Certificate Program (hereinafter – Foundation Program) in 2010. Foundation Program is a mirror program of the University College London. The contract period is: 2010 (February) – 2015 (August). Aim - to provide students with the academic and research, critical thinking and practical skills, conceptual tools, as well as the Academic English language and study skills required to be successful on any undergraduate degree program at the University Academic year: September – June Number of staff: Senior Staff -6, Administrative -6, Academic -67. Nazarbayev University offers a foundation course which includes some specialist and some more generic components. It is described as follows: The University Preparatory Certificate (UPC) is a foundation course for students who have completed their Secondary / High School education and who have high academic potential. Over one academic year, from September to late June / early July, the course provides an intensive preparation for the academic, research and linguistic challenges of an undergraduate degree program at Nazarbayev University. Students study two Compulsory Modules, English for Academic Purposes and Science and Society, and two other Subject modules. The Subject Modules available for students are: Mathematics and Physics or Biology and Chemistry or Economics and International Relations. This combination of four modules will effectively prepare students for further study in the Science and Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences undergraduate Programs offered at Nazarbayev University (NU). NU also accepts graduates from nearly 20 Foundation year programs at other universities, and students with good grades from International Baccalaureate schools and 13 year school systems. The value of a Foundation year is that increases the likelihood of academic success, persistence and graduation. This is good for the individual, for the institution and for the person or government paying the bill.

5 3. Statistics of Students Applied, Accepted to Foundation Program and Progressed to NU Schools
* Successful completion of the Foundation Program does not guarantee admission to NU Undergraduate Program

6 4. Student Support Services
Personal tutorials – provided by a personal tutor (member of the CPS Academic English team). 30-minute weekly tutorial individually or in small groups at a regular time. At tutorials students can discuss problems they experience, e.g. difficulties with friends, accommodation, health or any other aspect of their life and studies. Moodle – a virtual learning environment. Through Moodle courses students receive important academic information including homework and other sources that can help with their academic progress. Self-Access Centre (hereinafter – SAC) provides comprehensive facilities for self-study. Facilities include an on-line DVD library, Computer Assisted Language Learning, resource books, journals and newspapers. Writing Centre provides additional help if students experience difficulty in writing for core modules. EAP tutors offer 20-minute consultations. There are also workshops available throughout the year on subjects such as academic style and writing thesis statements. Counseling Center – supports students through the individual counseling and psychological diagnostics, On-line counseling, trainings and lectures for students, long-term supporting groups. Pastoral care is important – what happens outside the formal classes counts

7 5. Assessment of current Foundation Program
Successes Challenges of current Foundation Program (mirror program of UCL): Provides merit-based and transparent admission process Difficult fit with NU Academic Calendar Prepares students for demanding English-speaking academic environment Lack of flexibility: NU programs constantly evolve, but the Foundation Program does not adapt to NU’s needs and requirements Helps students make informed choice of future degree programs Foundation staff is hired by UCL Development and enhancement of: critical thinking skills soft skills study skills IPRs belong to UCL, so: NU cannot share its experience with other universities No sustainability for NU Provides hands-on laboratory experience Serves as a tool to evaluate student’s ability to be successful in his/her future academic life We are in the last year of the five year partnership with the current partner; these are the early take-aways of our experience

8 6. Main features of the New Pre-University Program:
Features of the new Pre-University Program (hereinafter – PUP) in cooperation with a new strategic partner: Intellectual Property of Nazarbayev University The Foundation Program will have a national impact, providing other universities with a model for foundation level studies, which will enhance the quality of higher education across the country Full integration with Nazarbayev University Foundation program will be fully integrated with NU undergraduate schools and aligned with NU’s strategy and needs. The program will evolve based on the feedback given by professorship of NU. Curriculum New Foundation will have a NU Academic Calendar with 2 semesters: 1 semester – generalized timetable with a focus on Math, English and Kazakh languages; 2 semester – specialized timetable. Focus on Mathematics during 2 semesters for all students regardless of their track. Student Support (in addition to all services provided at current Foundation program) Office Hours Academic examples classes: practical academic sessions where students can complete homework and assignments with support of undergraduate and postgraduate students Careers information, advice and guidance: additional advice and support will be provided by student careers and skills team alongside the existing provision available at NU to support students’ progression to undergraduate study. Local capacity building: to provide transition of the program to NU, a new partner will design and implement targeted professional development for program staff ; develop an increasing network of school-based partners; create opportunities for school improvement across the region We therefore have been designing a new Pre-University Program that should be flexible enough to serve not only our needs but to a large degree those of the general tertiary education sector – apart maybe of the English language aspects

9 7. Preliminary Model of Admission Process
Admissions: Funneling system of entry tests Use of standardized and internationally benchmarked entry assessments Recruitment and admissions working group

10 8. New Quality Assurance Framework
Robust quality assurance framework with both internal and external validation. NU will appoint an external auditor to provide independent scrutiny and validation of the program. Student progress will be monitored and improved through the six assessment points across the academic year with a sample of assignments moderated through second marking to ensure consistency of assessment and the validity and reliability of the data. The quality of teaching will be monitored and improved through peer observation, regular staff training and sharing of best practices. Students will have regular opportunities to provide feedback on their experience through a Staff-Student Liaison Committee and the regular completion of an online feedback form.

11 9. Pros of implementing Foundation Program in universities on Kazakhstan’s way to K12
Starting from 2015 Kazakhstan will be implementing K12 as a pilot project to be fully introduced in schools by 2020 and Foundation Programs are seen as a “temporary measure” to prepare students for undergraduate studies. Pros Students are better prepared for their undergraduate studies through: development of academic and research, critical thinking and practical skills; Academic English language (for universities with English language of instruction); study skills; laboratory experience More informed choice of future degree programs Merit-based and transparent admission process

12 10. Implementation of Foundation Programs in universities: issues to be addressed
In relation to Kazakhstan’s education system: Should introduction of K-12 eliminate the need for a PUP or complement it? Lack of hands-on laboratory experience in schools (poor infrastructure) Should PUPs be a part of secondary or tertiary education? Cost: free or fee-based? fee-based: State or self-funded? fee-based → self-funded → limited access for low income families Should universities create consortiums or offer PUPs on their own? Cost evaluation for Government/University/Student External validation of the program to provide quality assurance Admission requirements an graduation standards for PUPs In relation to NU experience: Adaptability and relevance of NU Foundation program to other Kazakhstani universities PUP or Direct Admission: who should go through Foundation? Benefits of Foundation program: academic preparation (English language, subject courses, study skills) VS preparation to adulthood (soft skills) Merit-based and transparent admission process Foundation programs and long term structure of Kazakhstan’s Educational System Some people have suggested that foundation program become more wide spread in Kazakhstan. One argument offered is that they are a good stepping stone in the transition to a new grade 12 program which is to be introduced into schools by They would be a temporary measure aimed at raising the level of achievement of students at the point of entry to higher education. The expectation is that the 12th year of the eventual 12 year school programme will have the same effect as a Foundation year. The idea has some merit. Many Universities in Australia, Canada, Germany, USA and the UK use foundation years to prepare young people for success in their higher education. Most programs focus on international students or domestic students who have not completed a conventional secondary school program or who have insufficient language skills to master the content in higher education programs. It is seldom, if ever, used as a compulsory step for entrance to all university programs. NU students have definitely benefited from their Foundation studies, helping them choose degree programs and giving them the academic grounding they need for success. But it is costly and a few students feel they already have all the necessary language and study skills. Is it worth the effort to make a foundation year a common experience in all or a selection of the nation’s public universities? I am not sure but I do acknowledge that there are some issues that will need to be resolved. The first is who pays? Globally most foundation years are in the university, a part of the higher education sector. If they were seen as Year 12 and part of secondary schooling they would be ‘free,’ and largely funded by the State. While a Foundation year in a university would be part of higher education and could require the individual to pay all or part of the cost. This may limit take up and further disadvantage lower income communities. This raises the question of who gets access to a Foundation Year program? Ideally any (interim) foundation program should be as open as possible offering opportunities to as many people who will go to year 12 in the future. This is consistent with an understanding that these programs are essentially an interim measure until the new school curriculum has rolled out through all the years including a new year 12. And there are some details to be worked out like admission requirements and the graduation standards.

13 11. Annex 1: Application timeline and admission criteria
Stage 1: APTIS test (assessment of general English, applicants with valid IELTS or TOEFL score may be exempted) Stage 2: Subject Entrance Test (evaluates academic readiness for studying at University) Stage 3: IELTS or TOEFL Admission to NU Foundation Program Timeline: Stage 1: February - March Stage 2: March - April Stage 3: May Results posted: August (beginning) Tests can be submitted in all regions of Kazakhstan. Admission Criteria: School of Science and Technology & School of Engineering – IELTS min 5.5 (with no component below 5.0); School of Humanities and Social Sciences – IELTS min 6.0 (with no component below 6.0);

14 12. Annex 2: Modules and Successful Completion of the Program
Subject Economics & International Relations Biology & Chemistry Mathematics & Physics Science and Society English for Academic Purposes Compulsory To successfully complete the Foundation Program the student must: Satisfy 80% attendance requirements of all courses Obtain the following minimum marks: At least 60% in EAP; At least 40% in Science & Society or Academic Research and Methods; At least 40% in each of the two core modules. 3. Pass the final examination in two subject modules with more than 40%. Successful completion of the Foundation Program does not guarantee progression to NU undergraduate programs.

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