International Teaching Assistant Language Assessment

What is International Teaching Assistant Language Assessment?

The International Teaching Assistant Language Assessment is designed to determine if an International Teaching Assistant (ITA)’s level of English proficiency meets the minimum required level of proficiency to be a TA at Cornell. It also informs ITAs and their departments of any required ITAP course work and appropriate teaching assignments.

A language assessment is a modified version of the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) in which an ITA will deliver a speech sample that is representative of their true linguistic abilities. It consists of an interview and a brief teaching sample.

Who can attend?

International teaching assistants who:

  • Do not speak English as a first language.
  • May be assigned any teaching assistantship.
  • Have not taken the TOEFL iBT or have taken the TOEFL iBT and received a speaking score below a 28.
  • Have not taken the IELTS or have taken the IELTS and received a speaking score below an 8.5.

When are language assessments?

It is recommended that required students be assessed upon arrival and/or during their first semester at Cornell to determine their eligibility to TA.  Language assessments are scheduled in August, December, January, and May each academic year. See the table below for the current schedule.

How to Schedule an Assessment

Assessments are scheduled by department staff via Outlook by inviting using Scheduling Assistant. Please include your student on the appointment and add their Last name, First name, Department, and Net ID in the appointment subject line. The location for assessments is Room 421, 4th floor, Computing and Communications Center (CCC) on the Agricultural Quad. Open assessment times for the dates below will appear as white in Outlook. Half-hour assessment slots are available from 9:00-12:00 pm and 1:00 to 4:30 pm. ITAP will confirm your request via email. Please ask students to complete the ITAP Language Assessment Registration form prior to arriving for their assessment. Students will take part in a standardized assessment process that asks that they talk about themselves, their experiences, backgrounds, and interests. Students should also prepare to briefly explain (3 minutes) an introductory concept from their field to a layperson. Email with any questions.

Assessment Schedule
Year Month Dates For ITAs with Duties Beginning
2019 December 11-13, 16-17

Spring 2021

2020 January 15-17, 21 Spring 2021
2020 May 6-7 Fall 2021
2020 August 20-21, 24-26 Fall 2021
2020 December 9-10 Spring 2022

Time: Varies.

Assessments take up to 30 minutes and can only be made on the half hour (e.g., 10, 10:30).

Desired Outcomes

  • Determine whether an ITA’s level of English proficiency meets the minimum required level of proficiency to be a TA at Cornell.
  • Determine any required ITAP course work and assign appropriate teaching assignments.

Assessment Process

ITAs should contact their Graduate Field Assistants (GFAs) to request an assessment if they will receive a TA appointment if they have not yet been scheduled for an assessment. We ask that department staff schedule the assessment.

To prepare for their assessment, ITAs should:

  • Complete the ITAP Language Assessment Registration form prior to arriving for your assessment.
  • Prepare a short (two to five-minute) introduction to a term or concept in their field. Presentation technologies such as PowerPoint are not available.

Contact for questions about this program.