Benchmarking Project

UECA has supported its members through a range of benchmarking projects where Centres shared and compared data on a range of operational aspects, such as, enrolment details, staffing profiles and marketing practices.

In 2018, it was agreed to focus benchmarking activities on Centre policies, processes and assessment standards.

With this in mind, UECA commissioned the External Referencing of the ELICOS Standards and International Education [ERESIE] Project with Dr Sara Booth and Associate Professor Thomas Roche appointed as project leads.

Members agreed that the primary focus of the initial national benchmarking project would be the newly updated ELICOS (2018) Standard P4: Assessment of ELICOS students with a specific focus on written assessment.

The project was designed with a view to seeking peer feedback on Centres’ ELICOS Direct Entry program learning outcomes, giving peers a mechanism to provide an assessment of program standards, confirmation of good practice and suggested areas for improvement.

The Benchmarking report, available for download below, reiterates and consolidates findings from the extensive UECA National External Referencing Project Assessment Policies and Processes Report. The current document includes additional discussion of those findings for a wider audience.

UECA would like to formally acknowledge and thank the author of that original, comprehensive report, Dr Sara Booth.

The UECA Committee would like to acknowledge the good faith with which participating Centres have engaged in this project as they reviewed the ELICOS Direct Entry programs of other Centres and responded to the feedback they received on their own.

The project involved time commitment not only from Centre managers, but also program coordinators, lecturers, and teachers. We would like to thank them for their contribution to this project, the results of which are truly shared by all members.

Finally, the Committee would like to acknowledge the leadership of Thomas Roche and Sara Booth who through the benchmarking project have lead innovation in the ELICOS and higher education pathway sectors in Australia, in creating a robust mechanism and rigorous processes for ensuring the comparability of the standards of our programs.

You can download the UECA Benchmarking Project Report here.

Participating Centres

  • Australian Catholic University
  • Central Queensland University Australia
  • Curtin University
  • Flinders University
  • Monash University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Southern Cross University
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of Newcastle
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Western Australia
  • University of New England
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of Wollongong
  • Victoria University
  • Western Sydney University

The UECA Innovation and Leadership Award

University English Centres Australia is committed to facilitating exceptional student experience through excellence in teaching, ongoing professional development and also building research capacity in the global TESOL community. The UECA Leadership and Innovation award, generously funded by Education Solutions Australasia, has been established to acknowledge and reward Innovation in Student Welfare in UECA member colleges.

The award is for evidence-based developments in areas such as:

  • Classroom resources
  • Student interventions
  • Technological innovations
  • Assessment and testing
  • Professional development

The award is open to employees of UECA member colleges, and is targeted at a broad range of roles, including but not limited to:

  • Teachers
  • Student Services
  • Management
  • Curriculum/ assessment writers

Anyone working in a UECA member college can nominate an individual or a team within their centre for their work. A centre may submit only one nomination per year.


The winner will receive $1500.

It is expected that the award winner will present on their area of innovation at one of the UECA PD Fests or events. UECA will subsidise the transportation costs if there is no UECA PD Fest scheduled in the winner’s state or territory.

Judging criteria

Nominations will be judged by three members of the UECA committee. The 2019 winner will demonstrate Innovation in Student Welfare which contributes to strong program delivery and / or student support in a UECA language centre. The judges will consider:

  • The originality and usefulness of the concept
  • Evidence of the benefit to the stakeholders, e.g. students, teachers, team members
  • How the concept can be refined and developed
  • Specific and practical ideas of how the concept can be shared across the sector.

Points to Address

Description of innovation / resources / intervention (250 words)

Provide a clear description of the innovation / resources / intervention developed by the nominee.

What did they do? Why is this innovative? How does it demonstrate leadership?

Who were the identified stakeholders of this innovation / resources / intervention?

Impact (200 words)
How did the innovation / resources / intervention benefit the identified stakeholders? Provide evidence or examples to demonstrate the impact.

Next steps in development (150 words)
How will the ideas be further refined and developed?

Broader application (150 words)
How can the innovation / resources / intervention be shared with the sector?

Winner – 2019

UECA is excited to announce that the winners of the 2019 Education Solutions Australasia Innovation and Leadership Award are Simon Messner and Dr Nadezhda Kurukulasuriya from CET, Sydney University.

Simon and Dr Nadezhdas’ outstanding work has involved creating an intervention program, the Wellbeing Ambassador Program, which provides students with the skills to support their peers’ mental health and well-being. The program has had an incredibly positive impact on Direct Entry Students, CET Wellbeing Ambassadors and the CET Counsellors themselves.

Many of our members may have had the chance to hear about Simon and Dr Nadezhdas’ work through the English Australia SIG for Academic Advisers and we look forward to meeting them both to celebrate their outstanding contribution and deserved accolade at next year’s Sydney PDFest.

A big thank you to those that took time to nominate their colleagues. It was very uplifting to read about the great work that is happening across the industry to facilitate an exceptional student experience.