DELA Outcomes

What do the DELA results mean

You will receive a result (out of 6) for each skill (reading, writing and listening) and advice about what you should do to further develop them. This table explains the full DELA scores.

A score of 3.3 or less means you should enrol in further support

If your overall score is 3.3 or less, you need to look for help to develop your academic English skills. The language program that is best for you will depend on what course you are studying and whether English is your first language or not.

Undergraduate students

If you are an undergraduate student with an overall score of 3.3 or less, and English is not your first language, you have to take up the language program that your faculty has chosen for students in your course. More information will be included when you receive your DELA results.

If English is your first language, please email

Graduate students

If your overall score is 3.3 or less and you are a graduate student whose first language is not English, it is recommended that you enrol into the university credit subject LING90002: Presenting Academic Discourse if it fits with your study plan and requirements. If you wish to discuss your study plan or have trouble adding the subject, you should contact Stop 1 as soon as possible to discuss how to fit this study requirement into your degree program.

If English is your first language, please email

Other language development programs

The University also offers a range of academic language and communication skills programs that you can take advantage of. To find out more about these programs, check out these websites:

  • Academic Skills (all students):
  • Academic English credit subjects (for learners of English as a second language):
  • AIRport airport icon(the University of Melbourne's website that provides a range of online interactive materials to improve students' academic writing, study skills and transition to University):
  • Legal Academic Skills Centre (Law students):
  • DELA outcomes explained

    DELA Score Reading Listening Writing


    Your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary appears limited. This means that you read very slowly and may take longer than average to do the reading required for your course. You may also find it difficult to follow the line of argument in what you are reading and therefore to complete your assignments satisfactorily.

    You have difficulty identifying or interpreting the meaning of key information contained in an academic lecture delivered at normal speed.

    Form: You use mainly simple sentences and make some basic grammar errors. Your vocabulary is limited in range and spelling errors cause strain for the reader. 
    Fluency: Your writing is hard to understand because your ideas are not organized.
    Content:You wrote very little or the ideas you did provide are directly copied from the question or irrelevant.

    The above features of your writing will make it very difficult for you to complete any written work satisfactorily.


    You may have difficulty reading academic texts. While you can probably get the overall sense of what you are reading you may miss out on key concepts or information. This could affect your ability to do your assignments well or to respond accurately to examination questions.

    You may have considerable difficulty following an academic lecture delivered at normal speed. You may find that you misinterpret or draw the wrong conclusions from what is said.

    Form: You use a limited range of sentence structures. Grammar errors and limited vocabulary make it hard for you to express your ideas clearly.
    Fluency: Your writing causes problems for the reader because you either don’t use linking words or you use them inappropriately. This means that the organization may not be clear.
    Content: You provided few relevant ideas OR your whole essay missed the point of the question

    The above features of your writing may mean that your may be penalized in your writing exams or assignments on the grounds of poor English expression.


    You may be able to read and understand academic texts in general but it may take you extra time to interpret more complex and abstract ideas. This may mean that you have to make extra effort to complete your coursework on time.

    You should be able to understand most of the content of an academic lecture delivered at normal speed, but you could find that you are a little slow processing the meaning of what the speaker is saying. You may sometimes find it difficult to distinguish the important points from the details or examples given.

    Form: You use a satisfactory range of sentence structures but are not always accurate in complex sentences. The errors that you make may prevent you from expressing your ideas clearly.
    Fluency: Your writing is mainly satisfactory but the inappropriate use of  linking devices causes some strain for the reader. 
    Content: Your argument does not always progress logically and some points may be irrelevant or lack support. 

    While you should be able to cope with most written work, you may benefit from further work on refining the content and form of your essays.


    Your ability to read and understand academic texts is generally satisfactory, although you may benefit from further practice.

    You will be able to identify nearly all the relevant information from an academic lecture, but the speed of delivery may make it difficult for you to draw all the different pieces of information together.

    Form: You use a wide variety of vocabulary and sentence structures appropriately, with no significant errors in word formation or spelling. 
    Fluency: You have shown that you are generally a competent writer. The essay generally reads fluently and the organization was generally coherent. The tone and style of the essay might have been at times inappropriate.  
    Content:         You provide sufficient ideas and they are arranged logically. Some ideas might lack supporting evidence or the overall point of view is not always clear. 

    Any flaws in your expression or content area unlikely to affect your overall mark for your writing assignments, but you may benefit from further practice.


    You read efficiently and with ease and are able comprehend and synthesize both factual and more abstract information. You should have no difficulty in coping with the reading demands of your course. 

    You can understand, recall and synthesize key points and supporting details in an academic lecture delivered at normal speed. You should have no difficulty coping with the listening demands of your course.

    Form: You use a wide variety of sentence structures; your vocabulary is extensive and always used appropriately. 
    Fluency: You have shown that you are a competent writer. Your writing is fluent and well organized. The message can be followed effortlessly, the tone and style are appropriate to the task.  Your essay shows a clear and logical progression of ideas.
    Content: You provide sufficient ideas and evidence, although some examples might lack relevance.

    Your writing shows that you are well equipped to cope with the writing demands of tertiary study.