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English Language Testing and Training for International GTAs

Departments planning to appoint international graduate teaching assistants (IGTAs) should follow the Graduate Council policy and assignment guidelines.

Departments are advised to include in their offers of graduate teaching assistantships the specification that students receiving iBT speaking sub scores of less than 26 will be required to undertake further English language training and that the cost of such training will be met by the academic department.

IGTAs will be evaluated by the INTO-OSU staff at the end of the term in which further language training has been undertaken. INTO-OSU will make a recommendation as to whether English language proficiency is sufficient, limited, or that further training is necessary. INTO-OSU will take into consideration the training policy and Guidelines for the Assignment of International GTAs when making a recommendation.

Graduate Council Policy Statement Regarding International Graduate Teaching Assistants (February 19, 2010)

If the Graduate School determines that an applicant or current student's native language is not English, the proposed IGTA is required to take the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) test before being appointed as a graduate teaching assistant. (Students who matriculated prior to Winter 2010 are exempt from this policy.)

Potential IGTAs scoring below 22 on the speaking section of the iBT can be appointed, but will be required to undertake further English language training.

If a department wishes to offer a student with an iBT speaking score of 18 to 21 an assistantship, the unit must:

  1. Affirm that the graduate student will be enrolled in IEPA 098NC COMMUNICATION FOR IGTAs (with the unit paying the cost of this training).
  2. If at all possible, assign the graduate student chores (such as paper grading, reagent preparation, etc.) that do not require personal contact with undergraduate students.
  3. If (b) above is not possible, and if possible, pair the IGTA in the laboratory or classroom with another TA who is a native speaker of English.
  4. Monitor the quality of IGTA performance using student evaluations and the evaluations of the supervising professors. The unit will document for each student the results of their evaluation of the student's performance as a GTA.

If the unit agrees to meet these conditions, the IGTA appointment can be made.

The scheduling of IEPA 098NC will be coordinated with the units so that students can attend the course and conduct teaching assistantship duties. Please check the OSU course catalog for confirmation of the time and date: http://catalog.oregonstate.edu/CourseDetail.aspx?subjectcode=IEPA&coursenumber=098NC

Guidelines for the Assignment of International GTAs

iBT Speaking Sub Score Assignment Considerations
22 and above No significant language difficulty is anticipated. A score of 26 has characteristics of near-native speaking ability. Language proficiency usually includes demonstrated audience awareness, cohesive and well developed responses, limited deficiencies in fluency, vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation.
English language training is required for scores below 22.
21 - 18 Assignment should be made recognizing that the IGTA has language limitations. The graduate teaching assistant must attend the IGTA course. INTO-OSU may recommend alternate courses when the IGTA course is not offered. Departments should provide close ongoing monitoring of progress in the IGTA assignment and in language skills development. Characteristics in this range may include strong but understandable accent, labored and deliberate pronunciation, possible difficulty with free-response items, halting speech patterns or vocabulary limitations.

Students with an iBT speaking score of less than 18 can not be assigned teaching assistantships.