The Graduate School
G-1 Communications Building
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770
Memo 15: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English
As stated in Section 3 of Executive Order 28, appropriate training and supervision of newly appointed TAs is expected. For graduate students who are not native speakers of English, the Graduate School places three conditions on their appointment as TAs1.
Teaching duties2 may be assigned to non-native English speakers who:
- meet English language proficiency requirements for admission or complete required English language courses,
- meet additional spoken English proficiency requirements, and
- participate in the International Teaching Assistant Program at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).
English Language Proficiency Requirement for Admission
To receive a TA appointment, graduate students who are not native English speakers must fulfill the English language proficiency requirements as stated in Graduate School Memorandum 8 by submitting test scores or by completing required English language courses.
Spoken English Proficiency Requirement
In addition, graduate students who are not native speakers of English must meet the spoken English proficiency requirement1 in one of the following three ways before they can be assigned teaching duties2:
(a) Achieve a spoken English proficiency test score of at least:
- 26 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT
- or 7.0 on the speaking portion of the IELTS
- or 65 on the Versant English Test
- or 55 on the TSE
- or 230 on the SPEAK test administered at the University of Washington3
(b) If a student receives one of the scores listed below, the department may contact the Graduate School to request an appeal interview. Students who pass the appeal interview may then be appointed as TAs.
- 23-25 on the speaking portion of TOEFL iBT
- 6.0-6.9 on the speaking portion of the IELTS
- 56-64 on the Versant English Test
- 50 on the TSE
- 200-220 on the SPEAK test administered at the University of Washington3
(c) Graduate students who fail to meet the spoken English proficiency requirement in (a) or (b) must pass English 105, an English course for international teaching assistants offered by English Language Programs.
While they are completing English language requirements, TAs may be assigned to non-teaching duties that do not include direct interaction with students. Such duties would include, but not be limited to, marking homework, grading, setting up labs, preparing instructional materials, running equipment in the classroom, etc., if no interaction with students is involved.
Participation in CTL’s ITA Program
TAs who are not native speakers of English are required to participate in the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Program at CTL1.
- Graduate students who are not native speakers of English but who received a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution are not required to meet the spoken English language requirement before being appointed as TAs and are not required to participate in CTL’s ITA Program.
- “Teaching duties” are defined as interactions with students over instructional issues. Examples include:
The SPEAK test is no longer being administered at the University of Washington. Students who took the SPEAK test at the University of Washington prior to July 2009 may submit a score of 230 to meet spoken English proficiency requirements. Departments may request an appeal interview for students with SPEAK scores of 200-220.
- holding office hours
- reviewing test or paper scores/evaluations with students
- answering questions in study centers such as writing, math, chemistry, etc.
- conducting labs
- leading discussions
- assisting students to solve problem sets
- commenting on studio work
Revised: February, 2008; July, 2009; August 2010