Proficiency Assessment of Teaching Assistants

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. 

How can students receive English certification before they can begin teaching?

Departments who are considering candidates or newly admitted students to be screened for Teaching Assistant eligibility, the Proficiency Assessment is an option. 

  • Students who qualified for the Waiver of Language Proficiency Examinations for initial entry to the UConn Graduate School or have used the Duolingo Test to demonstrate language proficiency.
  • Students eligible for microteaching testing who need to be screened sooner from the next available testing date.
  • Students who are not eligible for microteaching testing can either take an English workshop course to be eligible for the test or register for the proficiency assessment.

      Testing Format

      The approximately 15-minute oral interview will consist of a series of questions that are designed to assess fluency, grammatical accuracy, quality of language, and comprehensibility. A UCAELI instructor with an advanced degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) will conduct the assessment and evaluate the speaking proficiency level of the student in terms of the EAQUALs/CEFR scale.


      The video and conference communications tool Zoom is the preferred format for proficiency assessment meetings. Zoom works best when it is being run from the installed app. Students will need a Windows or Apple computer with speakers and a microphone. A working camera is required.  The whiteboard feature from Zoom will not be allowed. If you are not able to access Zoom, we can arrange a meeting with Microsoft Teams.


      Student or department can complete a registration form. Registration must be approved by the UCAELI office before the student is contacted to schedule the assessment.



      All proficiency assessment questions are considered general knowledge questions. Advanced preparation is not required. Scoring and recommendations will be as follows:

      (Scoring is based on CEFR/EAQUALs English proficiency descriptors.)


      C1 to C2 (equivalent to TOEFL speaking 26 – 28+, IELTS speaking 7.5 – 8 or higher):

      Clear pass, no further testing required, can be appointed to a TA, required to attend TA orientation.


      B2 to B2+ (equivalent to TOEFL speaking 23-27, IELTS speaking 7.0 to 7.5):

      Meets requirements for ITA Candidacy but will need to take a Microteaching test and attend ITA orientation. Based on Microteaching results may need to take a one semester ITA course before beginning instructional duties.


      B1+ or lower (equivalent to TOEFL speaking 22 or lower, IELTS speaking 6.5 or lower):

      Will require additional English coursework to reach required proficiency, not eligible for TA entailing direct instruction.


      Testing Results

      Students will be emailed proficiency assessment results 1-2 business days following the test date. The department contact will be copied on the results email. If the student does not demonstrate the minimum proficiency to teach undergraduate students, a language support course will be recommended. After completing the course, the student must register for the microteaching test for a re-assessment.


      Proficiency Assessment to make Admissions Decisions (Pre-Admission to UConn)

      Academic departments who need to make admissions decisions based on an applicant’s ability to qualify for a teaching assistantship that entails direct instruction, please contact UCAELI – If the student meets the English proficiency requirement to teach, we can officially clear them to teach in Student Administration (Peoplesoft) after they have been admitted to the university.


      Proficiency Assessment for Admission Purposes

      Proficiency Assessment for Teaching Assistants cannot be used for admissions purposes since it only measures speaking proficiency. If a student requires screening for admissions purposes, please refer to the Proficiency Assessment for Admission. The proficiency assessment for admissions can be used in place of the TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo test. Results will be sent directly to The Graduate School.


      Registration Fee

      The fee is $45. Payment is due before screening date. Departments covering the fee must complete the registration form and enter a KFS number. 

      Testing Dates 
      Monday, June 17
      Wednesday, September 18
      Monday, October 7
      Monday, November 18
      Between the hours if 9am-12pm eastern time.

      Please click here to register.