Frequently Asked Questions about ITAP
Find additional information about the ITAP experience. The Student FAQ and the Department FAQ provide details on the language assessment process, and the ALS 5780 FAQ answers questions about the ITAP course:
Additional support is always available by contacting ITAP.
Student FAQ: What to Expect at the Language Assessment
The language assessment evaluates your oral English proficiency. The language assessment process ensures that every international graduate student meets the expectations for oral English proficiency defined by the Office of the Provost so that you experience the greatest success possible in your teaching, studies, and research experiences at Cornell.
Preparing for my Assessment
What is the difference between the English language proficiency level required for Cornell graduate student admissions and for Teaching Assistant roles?
What kind of support is available for international students?
Global Cornell offers these tips for supporting international students while online and in-person with remote access.
What is the assessment process?
The assessment is an individual meeting with a consultant, based on the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), which provides a reliable, evidence-based evaluation of your oral English proficiency.
How is the assessment evaluated, and what level do I need to hold a teaching assignment?
How long is the assessment?
Where do the assessments take place?
How do I access my online appointment?
What if I need to reschedule my assessment time?
What if my country has sanctions in place which prevent me from using Microsoft Teams?
What is the best way to prepare for the assessment in advance?
How do I register for a language assessment?
Your Graduate Field Assistant in your department will communicate with you about when and how to schedule your assessment time. Initial assessments are offered on specific dates in August, December, January, and May. Prior to your assessment, please review the Student FAQ: What to Expect at the Language Assessment and complete the Language Assessment Registration Form. Your responses on the Registration Form help the assessor to tailor the assessment to you.
What if I will be a TA in a different department?
Can a departmental representative accompany me during the language assessment?
During my Assessment
What will I have to talk about in the assessment?
How can I perform best during the assessment?
Can I use PowerPoint or other technologies to help explain an introductory concept in my field?
For online appointments no technology is available. For in-person appointments a whiteboard will be available but no other technology.
Can I use notes to help explain an introductory concept in my field?
What if I cannot answer a question?
After my Assessment
How soon after the assessment will I know the outcome?
Is my teaching being assessed?
May I retake the language assessment?
Department FAQ: the ITA language assessment process
How are language assessment appointments scheduled?
Department staff will receive an email from ITAP with an assessment scheduling invitation for you to share with your students. In the invitation students will be asked to:
2. Fill out the language assessment registration form
3. Sign up for a language assessment appointment.If we are close to an assessment period and you have not received this email, please email ITAP
How will I know if my student has set up their appointment?
Can I schedule a reassessment for my student?
We ask that department staff email ITAP before requesting a reassessment for their student to determine eligibility. If the student is eligible, department staff may ask their student to schedule their reassessment using the assessment scheduling invitation in December, January, or May. August dates are reserved for initial assessments. Students who enroll in ALS 5780 take part in a diagnostic assessment within the first two weeks of the course start. If a student has progressed, ITAP will notify the student and you.S
Can I schedule an appointment for my student?
What does a Graduate Field Assistant do if a student misses their assessment time?
Please remind your student of their assessment time. If they miss their appointment, try to reschedule them during the current assessment period or email ITAP.
What if a GFA needs an assessment outside of the specific assessment dates?
Email ITAP to make this request.
What if a student needs an assessment outside of the specific assessment dates?
ITAP staff will make every effort to accommodate departmental needs and circumstances. Email ITAP with a special request for an assessment.
What if a student misses their assessment time?
Students can try to reschedule their appointment during the current assessment period. To do so, they should locate their confirmation email and click on “manage my booking”.
Can a department member observe the student appointment?
Of course! Students are asked to indicate if someone will join them when they book their appointment.
Your student would need to send their confirmation email to you and the department member so you would have access to the Microsoft Teams meeting link. The department member should log in outlook.cornell.edu before clicking on the Team meeting link.IT may be useful to mention to your student know they cannot move their appointment since someone else’s schedule will be impacted. If the student cannot use Teams due to country sanction, they may need to send a Zoom link to you and the meeting attendee.
ALS 5780 FAQ
The International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) offers ALS 5780 in fall and spring semesters. It is a 2-credit course graded on an S/U basis. This is a skill building course so no audits are allowed. The ITAP program is open to international graduate students who speak English as an additional language and who will be TAs during the coming fall/spring semesters. Enrollment space in ALS 5780 is based on the immediacy of the Teaching Assistant assignment, as well as the language assessment outcome, to provide as much support as possible to build students' oral English proficiency as they begin their teaching duties.
What is the structure of the course?
Each week, there are two 75-minute interactive course meetings; these are supplemented wit hi-monthly conferences with your instructor.
What assignments and activities are included in ALS 5780?
ALS 5780 is an opportunity for you to practice communication skills to refine your oral English proficiency. To do so, it incorporates activities in authentic language contexts. These activities are designed to give you "real-world" experience and include:
- audio journals and video-taped teaching practica
- pair work
- role-play scenarios
- leading discussions
- peer feedback opportunities
- consultations with undergraduate language consultants (optional)
How do I earn an "S" grade in the course?
Because the course is designed to help you practice your oral English language skills, it is important to complete all course assignments and attend all sessions to earn an "S" grade.
How much time will I need to spend on the course each week?
In addition to class participation, you should plan on about 1 to 1 ½ hours per week outside of class for preparation and assignments. Also, practicing English language skills with peers, colleagues, and other individuals will help significantly improve proficiency.
Is additional help available?
Optional weekly sessions with undergraduate language consultants are available. At the beginning of the term, you may sign up to meet weekly with an undergraduate consultant. Past experience has shown that typical students need about 200 hours of practice to improve their oral English proficiency by one sub-level (For details on English proficiency levels, see the ACTFL guidelines).