Information for TAs who are Not Native Speakers of English

To be appointed as a Teaching Assistant, graduate students who are not native speakers of English are required (as stated in Graduate School Memo 15): (1) to demonstrate proficiency in spoken English, and (2) to participate in CTL’s International TA Program.

    1. Demonstrating Proficiency in Spoken English
    2. Participating in the International TA Program

Note exemption: non-native speakers of English who received a Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S. institution are not required to demonstrate proficiency in spoken English or to participate in the International TA Program.


1.  Demonstrating Proficiency in Spoken English

To demonstrate proficiency in spoken English, most graduate students submit either a score of at least 26 on the speaking portion of the TOEFLiBT or a score of at least 65 on the Versant English Test.  (For information about other tests that are accepted, see Graduate School Memo 15).

Graduate students whose spoken English proficiency test results do not meet the requirements can demonstrate proficiency in two other ways:

  • Pass English 105, a course for TAs offered by UW International and English Language Programs.
  • Pass an appeal interview.  If a student’s test results are within a particular range (see Graduate School Memo 15), the department may request an appeal interview for the student.

To Register for the Versant English Test

The Versant English Test is administered by UW’s Office of Educational Assessment (OEA).

  • On Thursday, September 11th, OEA will offer Versant Test appointments all day – every half-hour beginning at 9:30 and ending at 3:30. To register for an appointment, you can either call 206-543-1171 or email oeatests@uw.edu.  In your email, include the test date, your name, student number, and department. After your message has been processed, you will receive a reply from OEA confirming your test time.
  • You can also register for a test appointment on another date. (See OEA’s Versant Test Information Sheet.)
  • For more information about the Versant English Test, see the Pearson Versant English Test website.

Optional Versant English Test Overview Session

Students who plan to take the Versant English Test may also attend an optional Versant English Test Overview Session on Wednesday, September 10th, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.  This overview session will provide you with the opportunity to learn more about the test and to ask any questions you might have. To register for this optional session, send a message to itap@uw.edu.

2.  Participating in CTL’s International TA Program

TAs who are not native speakers of English are also required to participate in the International TA Program at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). The International TA Program consists of two workshops at the TA/RA Conference in September and ongoing support (optional workshops and/or individual consultations by request) during the year.  The goal of the program is to support new TAs in their roles by addressing such topics as teaching methods, education in the U.S., and communicating effectively with students.

When you register for TA/RA Conference, you are required to sign up for the two International TA Program workshops on Monday, September 15th:

  • Getting to Know UW Students: Overview for International TAs (1:15-2:30, Savery 260)
  • Panel Discussion with Experienced International TAs (2:45-4:00, Savery 260)

If you have any questions about the International TA Program or about the requirements, you can call the CTL at 206.543.6588, or send a message to itap@uw.edu.

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