Teaching Assistant Preparation in English
All students for whom English is not a first language (as self-reported on their admissions application) and who have first-time appointments as graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are required to take a test to assess their effectiveness in speaking English before they are assigned assistantship responsibilities. This is based on a policy overseen by the Office of the Provost (see the University's Operations Manual III-13), which was derived from a Board of Regents mandate (see Iowa Code 262.9 #24-5).
The English Speaking Proficiency Assessment (ESPA) is the test The University of Iowa uses to assess these students' oral language and listening skills. The English Language Performance Test (ELPT) is a supplement to the ESPA test and is designed to measure prospective TAs' ability to communicate in English in a classroom context in their own field of study. The ELPT attempts to identify specific aspects of language likely to present communication problems for the new TA whose first language is not English. The ELPT is given to students who have scored 50 or 55 on the ESPA, and TAs teaching a foreign language who have scored 45.
To learn more about the ESPA and ELPT, including information about preparing for the test, interpreting your results, and enrolling in TAPE classes, use the menu on the left.