What is the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Program?
The ITA program (International Teaching Assistants) serves Arizona State University (ASU) academic departments that employ international students as teaching assistants, and ASU international graduate students who want to become teaching assistants. The program provides testing services, teacher training, and language support services.
The SPEAK Test and Workshops, Interview Test, and the ITA Seminar are administered through the ITA Program, which has served more than 7,000 students over the past 28 years.
Have questions? We are here to help.
Speak Test General Information
The SPEAK test is the local version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE), authorized by Educational Testing Services (ETS) and administered at ASU through the American English and Culture Program (AECP). ASU does not accept other universities' SPEAK test results. It is an oral proficiency exam.
All prospective international teaching assistants (ITAs) must achieve a score of 55 or higher in order to be certified to assume full teaching responsibilities, such as serving as the instructor of a class or leading discussion groups. Students who score 50 will be certified with qualifications and may serve as lab assistants or tutors. Students scoring below 50 will not be given any teaching responsibilities unless they are certified through the ITA seminar.
Full teaching capacity
Certification (with qualifications)
Limited teaching, e.g., lab teacher
ITA seminar and/or ESL classes
The SPEAK test emphasizes communicative ability. In the test, students respond to questions, and their responses are recorded. The test questions are of a general nature and inform the raters about the examinee's oral communicative ability. Each test question elicits a particular function, such as reading a town map and giving directions or interpreting graph information. Two raters who take into account all communicative competencies score each test independently.
AECP provides at least 20 opportunities a year to take the SPEAK test (three in January, seven in August and at least one all other months). Scores are posted on PeopleSoft.
Speak Test Schedule
|August 6||Thursday||4:30 p.m.|
|August 10||Monday||4:30 p.m.|
|August 12||Wednesday||4:30 p.m.|
|August 17||Monday||4:30 p.m.|
|August 19||Wednesday||4:30 p.m.|
|August 21||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
|August 28||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
|September 11||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
|October 2||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
|November 6||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
|November 20||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
|December 4||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
|December 11||Friday||4:30 p.m.|
Speak Test Registration
- The SPEAK test fee is $48. This fee is nonrefundable/nontransferable.
- The SPEAK test is available for ASU students only.
- SPEAK tests may not be rescheduled.
- Registration for the SPEAK test takes place at the AECP in the Engineering Center Annex, Room 101. Office hours are 8:00 to 5:00. Registration opens at 8:00 a.m. one week before the scheduled test date and closes two hours before the test time.
- The number of seats is limited; early registration is recommended.
- Examinees need to register in person with an ASU photo ID.
- Scores will be posted on MyASU within five working days. Students click "Transcripts and Test Scores".
Departments sponsoring students for the test can e-mail a P.O. to vendor code AECP with student names, ID#’s and test name to email@example.com. The P.O. must be local funds and we suggest using object code 770099. The fund code is 5140, and the account number is LH51010. Once receipt of the P.O. has been made, students may register for the test. Please inform students that the department is paying for the test.
Speak Test Workshops
AECP is pleased to offer a complimentary new service to bolster students’ success on the SPEAK test– the SPEAK Test Workshops. These free two-hour workshops cover the following topics:
- The Language Lab and materials
- Testing procedures
- Test taking tips
- Test preparation
- Retrieving your score
- How is SPEAK graded?
- What if I don’t pass?
For more information, contact:
Lori Doemland at Loretta.Doemland@asu.edu or 480-965-2161
The ITA Training Seminar is a no-fee course offered to international students who are candidates for a teaching assistantship. The seminar is a non-credit semester long course which addresses language improvement, teaching skills, and cross-cultural training. In order to enroll, qualified students must meet the following requirements:
1. Students must have taken the SPEAK test or the Interview Test and have scored 40 or above.
2. Students must ask their department representative to email Lori Doemland with their name, ID number, name of department, and a statement that the student is a candidate for a TA position.
During the semester, each student is required to prepare at least four videotaped micro-teaching presentations that are evaluated by the instructor during tutorial sessions. At the end of the semester, a final videotaped presentation is used as an evaluation instrument by a panel of language and pedagogical experts.
Full certification by the panel is equivalent to a score of 55 on the SPEAK test, and a rating of certified with qualifications is equivalent to a score of 50. Those students who do not receive the above ratings are not certified and may retake the SPEAK test or enroll in one AECP eight-week intensive English class.
ITA Seminar Schedule
Schedule for Spring 2015
Section A meets Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:15 p.m.
(The first class meeting is Wednesday, January 21 in TBD).
Section B meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30 - 7:15 p.m.
(The first class meeting is Tuesday, January 20 in LL 271).
Qualified students must:
- Have taken the SPEAK test or the Interview Test and have scored at least 40
- Ask their department representative to send an email with their name, ID number, name of department, and a statement that the student is a candidate for a TA position. Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Present a current ASU schedule of classes when registering
Registration Location and Dates
Qualified students may enroll for classes for the Spring 2015 semester at AECP in the Engineering Center Annex, room 203 on Monday, January 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., or at other times by appointment.
Early registration takes place by appointment beginning Monday, January 5th. Email Loretta.Doemland@asu.edu or call 480-965-2161 to schedule a registration appointment. Early registration is recommended.
“I really recommend to everyone to take the ITA seminar and enjoy the time as much as you can while you make new friends.”
– Paloma, Spain
Important Update: The prices for the Interview Test have increased. The test fee is now $60 (as compared to the $48 SPEAK Test)
Eligibility for the Interview Test
The ITA program conducts a brief Interview Test appointment for potential ITAs whose English is of near-native proficiency. This is defined as 55 or above on the SPEAK test. Students who have taken the SPEAK test, or who have previously taken the Interview Test, are not eligible for Interview Test appointments. The Interview Test questions are the same as those found in the SPEAK test. AECP may refuse an interview to anyone not deemed near-native in speaking skills.
Procedure For Interview Test Appointments:
- The department fills out the Interview Test PERMIT TO REGISTER form and gives it to the eligible student.
- The student brings the form to the ITA office in the Engineering Center Annex. ITA will prepare a receipt for test payment (a photo ID is required at the time of registration). The test fee is $60.00.
- The student takes the receipt to the cashier's office on the second floor of the Student Services Building and pays the $60.00 Interview Test fee.
- The student returns to AECP (Engineering Center Annex) with a copy of the (paid) receipt and gives it to the ITA staff.
- ITA schedules the Interview Test appointment (at least one week in advance).
- The student returns to AECP at the scheduled time for the interview. Students should bring their Sun Cards with them.
Interview Test Grading:
Interviewees will be judged on the following criteria:
- Linguistic competence: This component includes pronunciation (vowel, consonant, and final consonant sounds as well as intonation and stress patterns) and the selection of appropriate vocabulary and grammatical structures. It also includes fluency or smoothness of speech. The accent must not be distracting. There should be little or no listener effort.
- Discourse competence: This component is the speaker’s ability to answer a question in an organized way with appropriate openings, closings, and transitional phrasing. There is logical thought and clear development of content with adequate detail. This component is characterized by very strong content.
- Sociolinguistic competence: This component deals with the tone and register of the voice of the speaker showing that he/she is aware of the setting and can select appropriate language. Therefore, the speaker should speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard in a conversational tone.
- Functional competence: This component deals with the task at hand. The speaker should be highly skilled in selecting language to complete the task. He/she must understand the question and be able to answer the question asked.
Results of the Interview Test
- The results are given to the International Teaching Assistant Coordinator who then telephones or emails the results to the student's department within 3-5 working days. A result letter will be sent to the department.
- Students must obtain the results of their interview from their department; neither the interviewer nor the ITA office will inform students of their results.
- A record of each Interview Test is kept on file at the ITA office in the Engineering Center Annex.