Current Graduate Students

Spoken English Testing of International Teaching Assistants

Cleveland State University, in compliance with State Law, phased in the requirement that all non-native English speakers who are offered a Teaching Assistantship, must take and pass a test of spoken English before they can be hired. Since Fall 2003, this test is required to take and pass before a contract can be signed. International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) at Cleveland State have two options to demonstrate proficiency.

  • 1. Take the internet-based TOEFL(iBT) offered by ETS at testing centers overseas and in the United States (none in northern Ohio). See the ETS web site for more information. . The Speaking section score will be used for evaluation of proficiency

  • 2. Take the SPEAK test at the CSU Testing Center. (Students are required to pay a $125 fee.)

It will take about 6 weeks to get results from iBT or about 2 weeks to get the results of the SPEAK test.

The evaluation of the SPEAK test is managed through the English as a Second Language Program, but the test is taken at the Testing Center. The process for taking the SPEAK test at CSU can be found here.

Depending on the student's score, the student will be cleared to accept a teaching assistantship without restriction or will need to participate in a class before doing so. Two courses are offered for graduate credit (2 credits): ESL 503, Intermediate English as a Second Language Speaking Skills, and ESL 504, Communication Skills for International Teaching Assistants. The expenses for these classes are the students' responsibility. Tuition waivers can be used, upon approval.

To summarize: the changes after 2003,

  • A testing fee is now required for the SPEAK test.
  • A student cannot hold a teaching assistantship without passing the iBT or SPEAK exam.
  • The ESL classes are now offered for academic credit. International graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the classes, whether or not they are required to do so.

Questions about the SPEAK test should be directed to the ESL Program Director at x9669.