A Study in Singapore: Perceptions about the Importance of Written English Language and Undergraduates’ Competency Level
This exploratory study aimed to examine the perceived importance of written English language and level of competency among undergraduates in a public university in Singapore. The study arose from faculty’s observations and concerns about students’ written English proficiency.
The study involved three targeted sample units: undergraduates, faculty and industry partners. These groups were invited to participate in Qualtrics online questionnaires customised for each of them. SPSS Statistics version 25 was used to generate descriptive statistics and perform cross-tabulations.
The results from 215 undergraduates, 92 faculty and 110 industry partners suggested that all three sample units agreed on the importance of written English for academic studies and professional work. They differed in observations about undergraduates’ written English competency levels, students’ keenness to improve, and perceived optimism that improvement can be achieved during university studies.
Three recommendations are proposed. Firstly, faculty’s written English standard could be enhanced so that they become positive role models for students. Secondly, feedback for student is imperative if English assessment forms part of the marking rubrics. Thirdly, the fundamentals of English language could still be taught at the university level.
The conclusion is that the university can be the last opportunity for undergraduates to improve their English competency before joining the workforce.