By IUPUI policy, international TAs who are being considered for an instructional role in which they will have direct contact with undergraduate students must demonstrate their English proficiency before beginning their appointment. The IUPUI Policy on Oral English Competency for International TAs can be found here.

In the SPEAK test, you demonstrate how well you speak English. The test lasts approximately 20 minutes. You will be asked questions by an interviewer on tape. The questions are printed in the test book and the time you will have to answer each one is printed in parentheses after each questions. You are encouraged to answer the questions as completely as possible in the time allowed. While most of the questions on the test may not appear to be directly related to your academic or professional field, each question is designed to tell the raters about your oral language ability. The raters will evaluate how well you communicate in English.

A sample SPEAK Test (which is the same as the Test of Spoken English - TSE) can be downloaded from this link.

SPEAK Test Registration and Fees

To register for the SPEAK Test, the department representative (secretary, advisor, etc.) should contact the EAP Program Office (274-2188) to register the graduate student for the next available testing time. There is a $30 test fee, which is charged to the student’s department.

SPEAK Test Results, Retesting, and Appeals

The SPEAK Test is evaluated using the rating scale provided. Students who are considered for an assistantship with direct student contact must have a SPEAK score> 50 in order to have primary instructional responsibility for a class or lab section. Students who do not earn a SPEAK score > 50 are required to take ENG G020 before retaking the SPEAK test. A more detailed placement based on the students’ performance on the test is explained in the letter sent to the students’ department/advisor. View sample letter.

Retesting of the SPEAK Test, with permission from the graduate’s department, is allowed. The department representative would contact the EAP Program Office (274-2188) asking for an appointment time for a SPEAK Test and would, at that time, tell the EAP Program that this is a retesting student. There will be an additional $30 fee for the retest.

Appeal for Alternative Test Format

If the student is still not satisfied with the SPEAK Test Rating, an appeal can be made to the EAP Program Director to begin the appeal process by requesting an alternate test format. The student, with department permission, can choose to plan and deliver a typical presentation/lecture for the particular class the student would be working with. The audience of the presentation will be two representatives from the English for Academic Purposes Program and a representative from the graduate student’s department. This committee of three will evaluate the presentation and determine the student’s placement.

SPEAK Test Scoring Rubric

60 Communication almost always effective: task performed very competently

  • Functions performed clearly and effectively
  • Appropriate response to audience/situation
  • Coherent, with effective use of cohesive devices
  • Use of linguistic features almost always effective; communication not affected by minor errors

50 Communication generally effective: task performed competently

  • Functions generally performed clearly and effectively
  • Generally appropriate response to audience/situation
  • Coherent, with some effective use of cohesive devices
  • Use of linguistic features generally effective; communication generally not affected by errors

40 Communication somewhat effective: task performed somewhat competently

  • Functions performed somewhat clearly and effectively
  • Somewhat appropriate response to audience/situation
  • Somewhat coherent, with some use of cohesive devices
  • Use of linguistic features somewhat effective; communication sometimes affected by errors

30 Communication generally not effective: task performed poorly

  • Functions generally performed unclearly and ineffectively
  • Generally inappropriate response to audience/situation
  • Generally incoherent, with little use of cohesive devices
  • Use of linguistic features generally poor; communication often impeded by major errors

20 No effective communication: no evidence of ability to perform task

  • No evidence that functions were performed
  • No evidence of ability to respond appropriately to audience/situation
  • Incoherent, with no use of cohesive devices
  • Use of linguistic features poor; communication ineffective due to major errors