The SPEAK Test
UW System policy requires non-native English speakers to demonstrate proficiency in spoken English before they are assigned classroom duties as teaching assistants.
Departments are responsible for ensuring that all potential non-native English speaking TAs have the English skills necessary to be effective teachers. We recognize and value the contribution that International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) make to our university. This requirement is not intended to be punitive, but rather is necessary to ensure that students are able to understand their TAs and have a positive learning experience. For more information on university policies related to TA spoken English proficiency see: https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=25268
The SPEAK test is used to evaluate the spoken English of International TAs. The test is available only to students holding or under consideration for a teaching assistantship. SPEAK test scores cannot be sent to or accepted from other educational institutions.
Important Note: International students who score a 26/30 or higher on the speaking section of the iBt TOEFL test, or 8.0 or higher in the speaking section of IELTS, may be exempt from taking the SPEAK test, and may be eligible to teach with no further English language testing requirements, at the discretion of the employing unit.
1) Students who wish to take the test should contact their department. Departments must authorize their teaching assistants or potential teaching assistants to take the SPEAK test by pre-registering them with the ESL Program.
2) To authorize a student, the department should email the SPEAK administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the information below. Please register your student by the Friday before the published SPEAK test dates as only students who are registered on time will be tested.
Subject line: SPEAK test scheduling
- Test taker’s name
- Campus ID number
- Department contact with email
3) An ESL administrator/staff will contact the student to arrange the time and date for the test.
Note: The test can be taken only once in any three-month period.