Administrative Manual — Teaching Assistant Preparation in English

Tests of Proficiency in English

When a department wishes to offer a first-time teaching assistantship to a non-native speaker of English, the candidate must pass a test of spoken English proficiency, administered during the week before registration begins each semester. Those who score high enough are next tested for their ability to deliver a brief lecture, which is recorded on videotape. The lectures are rated on how comprehensible the candidate’s English is, how aware the candidate is of teacher-student relationships in the classroom, how well the candidate understands and answers student questions, and how well the candidate demonstrates general skills in teaching. Both tests are administered by the Teaching Assistant Preparation in English (TAPE) program, which also offers courses in pronunciation, fluency, and presentation that are designed to increase graduate students’ communicative competency in English.

Certification for Teaching Duties

The College requires that departments attach to the TA appointment form a copy of the letter from the TAPE coordinator specifying the graduate assistant’s level of certification. (The original stays on file in the department.) The department may assign the candidate those teaching duties for which he or she is certified on the basis of these tests.

Candidates who are certified as ready to teach may have full responsibility for a course after attending a brief TAPE orientation. Those who are conditionally certified may teach discussion or lab sections or grade papers; they must take appropriate courses in the TAPE program or be further tested to become unconditionally certified. Some of those not certified as ready to teach may be assigned as graders; others must take TAPE courses and then be reevaluated before any duties may be assigned.

Contact ESL Programs (1112 University Capitol Centre, 335–5630) concerning the TAPE program and testing procedures.