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

ATTENTION: 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. 

Each academic unit should ensure that each graduate student has 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 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, the academic unit should contact UCAELI directly.

Departments may contact Megan Petsa: megan.petsa@uconn.edu in the Graduate School to request a waiver of the English proficiency requirement for TA’s whose responsibilities will not entail direct instruction (e.g., 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 74 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 a 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 Waiver Interview.
  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 62 and 73

ITA’s 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 74+
Additional Testing: (Microteaching) TOEFL IBT speaking subscore >22*<27  IELTS   7.0 or 7.5 speaking band PTE >62<74
ITA Pronunciation or Advanced Oral Communication required If student does not pass the Microteaching Test.
UCAELI courses recommended TOEFL IBT speaking subscore  <22*  IELTS < 7.0 speaking band PTE <62

*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. 

Microteaching Test Results 

Students who pass the microteaching test are cleared to teach and may begin teaching.

Students who receive a “Conditional Pass” on the microteaching test must successfully complete the recommended course during the semester immediately following the test. If the conditional pass expires because the student did not register or complete the course, the student will need to be retested.

Students who do not pass the microteaching test may not be appointed to a position with direct instructional contact and must either successfully complete an English course or submit an updated TOEFL speaking score representing improvement in order to be eligible for another microteaching test.

Students may retake the Microteaching test when they have completed ITA courses.  For students who take UCAELI courses, a final evaluation of B2 (Minimum Academic Proficiency) in speaking on the EAQUALs (a CEFR based scale) is required to take the Microteaching test.

The microteaching test will be offered up to five times for an individual student. If a student has already taken the microteaching test five times without passing, the student is no longer eligible to register for additional microteaching testing. Students in this category may submit passing TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores as evidence of meeting the English proficiency requirements for teaching assistants at the University of Connecticut.

Please view the flowchart below which illustrates the procedures from admission through reassessment: