n Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - Improving academic proficiency in open distance learning through contact interventions

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-5986



The aim of the article is to describe a pilot study designed to determine the extent to which contact interventions improve the academic proficiency of tertiary-level students in a distance education institution. A group of `at risk' students, identified by the University of South Africa Unisa Mercantile Law Department, served as the pilot target group for the interventions described. <i>Writing intervention:&lt;/i&gt; this involved the active teaching of coherence, cohesion, and the academic essay as a discourse type. <i>Reading intervention:&lt;/i&gt; Explicit instruction in the answering of multiple-choice questions was given as this form of evaluation accounts for an increasingly high percentage of testing critical reading at Unisa Reading and <i>writing centre intervention:&lt;/i&gt; Essay structuring and argumentation were workshopped. Particular attention was paid to cohesion and coherence. <i>Pre- and post-testing&lt;/i&gt; was used to determine the effectiveness of the interventions.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error