The Purpose of the Online 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. The SPEAK test is used to evaluate the spoken English of International TAs. The test is available only to enrolled students holding or under consideration for a teaching assistantship.
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.
Requirements to take the Online SPEAK Test
In order to take the Online SPEAK Test students must have the following:
This test is proctored in Honorlock
You will be using Honorlock to complete the SPEAK. Honorlock is an online proctoring service that allows you to take your exam from the comfort of your home. You DO NOT need to create an account or schedule an appointment in advance. Honorlock is available 24/7, and all that is required is a computer, a webcam and microphone, your ID, and a stable internet connection.
What you will need to use Honorlock
We strongly recommend testing your system in advance of your exam due date via the link on the Honorlock support page (scroll down and look for “Run System Check.”) The minimum system requirements include:
- A laptop or desktop computer (not a tablet or phone)
- Google Chrome browser
- A webcam
- A microphone
- A stable and strong Internet connection
- Access to a VPN if you are in a location where Internet access is restricted
Exemption from the SPEAK Test
After you take the SPEAK Test you will receive your score. If you do not score 50 or above, you will be recommended to enroll in an ESL course. You must re-take the test until you earn a score of 50 or above.
International students who meet one of the criteria below 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.
- 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,
Please note that SPEAK test scores cannot be sent to or accepted from other educational institutions.
For more information
For more information on university policies related to TA spoken English proficiency see: https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=25268 .