UConn’s English Proficiency Policy for TA’s and Testing Procedures

All Teaching Assistants for whom English is not a primary language must pass an oral English proficiency test regardless of citizenship or visa status. A primary language is defined as a language used to communicate since childhood.

If English proficiency was waived for purposes of admission, TA’s must still provide proof of English proficiency in accordance with UConn’s English Proficiency Policy for TA’s and Testing Procedures.

Each academic unit must ensure that each international graduate student has the appropriate oral proficiency in English before he or she is employed as a teaching assistant, instructor, or lecturer with direct instructional responsibilities. These responsibilities extend to both classroom and laboratory settings. Certification of English proficiency is filed with the Graduate School and made a part of the student’s record.

The student is responsible for obtaining certification in a timely fashion. The academic unit is responsible for reviewing the certification in PeopleSoft / Student Admin before employing the student in an instructional role. In cases when a Teaching Assistant’s primary language is English and the student has not been cleared to teach in Peoplesoft / Student Admin, the academic unit should contact UCAELI directly.

Departments may contact Jack Corcoran jack.corcoran@uconn.edu from the Graduate School to request a waiver of the English proficiency requirement for TA’s whose responsibilities will not entail direct instruction (e.g., holding office hours, grading, or setting up lab equipment).

Certification of English Proficiency may be obtained by meeting one of the following requirements:

  1. Speak English as a primary language.
  2. Submit a valid TOEFL IBT score with a speaking subscore of 27 or higher, an IELTS speaking band score of 8.0 or higher, or a Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) score of 84 or higher.
    • Important Note: For students who decide to be screened later in their academic career at UConn, the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores that were submitted to the Graduate School will be used. Students with scores older than 5 years may request the ITA Proficiency Assessment (contact the UCAELI office for more information). Students who qualified for the Waiver of Language Proficiency Examinations for initial entry to the UConn Graduate School or who have used the Duolingo Test to demonstrate language proficiency are eligible for the ITA Proficiency Assessment.
  3. Pass the Microteaching Test. You must take the Microteaching test if :
    • your TOEFL IBT speaking subscore is between 22 and 26
    • your IELTS score is 7.0 or 7.5 on the speaking band
    • your PTE score is between 75 and 83

International teaching assistants in the language departments of Literatures, Cultures and Languages must have a minimum TOEFL IBT speaking subscore of 20, a minimum IELTS speaking band score of 6.5 or a PTE score of 54.

For scores below this, UCAELI English courses will be recommended.


Pass TOEFL IBT 27+ speaking subscore  IELTS 8.0+ speaking band PTE 84+
Additional Testing: (Microteaching) TOEFL IBT speaking subscore >22*<27  IELTS   7.0 or 7.5 speaking band PTE >75<84
English Workshops TOEFL IBT speaking subscore  <22*  IELTS < 7.0 speaking band PTE <66
English Workshops (Required) Students who do not pass the microteaching test. 

*Based on data collected since August 2014, students with a score of 22 in the speaking section of the TOEFL have a 39.7% probability of passing the microteaching test and 20.8% probability of conditionally passing the microteaching test.