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International Teaching Assistant Exams

All international teaching assistants (ITA) at Washington State University take an assessment that is designed to measure English language proficiency and teaching ability to ensure proper teaching placement.

ITA Tests Format

We will not be running face-to-face tests. All ITA tests will be conducted via Zoom.  All candidates and their department representatives will receive a Zoom invitation and a fillable pdf form for comments.  Completed forms should be emailed with the candidate’s name in the subject line to Dustin Hinkle and Justine Armentrout.

ITA Exam Registration Dates and Process

ITA Testing PeriodLast Day to RegisterITA Test Scheduled*
Spring IDec. 31February
Spring IIFeb. 28/29March/April
SummerApril 30May/June
Fall IAug. 31September
Fall IISept. 30October/November
*Some ITA tests may be scheduled in the adjacent month

Note

Students from Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Canada, Guyana, Kenya, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago are exempt from the English proficiency requirement.

ITA Exam registration process

Registration is done online by the student or a member of their department.  Students can register and take the ITA test before they arrive to WSU.  ITA scores do not have any expiration dates.

To facilitate the procedure of scheduling a test, talk to a department representative and provide time windows on at least 3 days of the week when you are both available. Specific dates are impossible to accommodate due to the volume of registration forms that we receive.

Requests for exams are processed in the order that they are received. If all available exam slots have been filled, your test may be postponed until the next testing cycle. To be sure that you stay in compliance with WSU regulations, register as early as possible. Exams are generally scheduled within 2 weeks of registration, and ITA reports are sent out within 6 weeks of the ITA test.

Emails from this office will be sent to WSU email addresses only.

Questions regarding test scheduling should be emailed to Dustin Hinkle.

All candidates are expected to have familiarized themselves with the information on this website. Address any questions about appropriate topics and visual aids to Dustin Hinkle.

ITA default score for graders

Any student who will only be grading and will have no contact with undergraduates can request a default ITA score of “5.”  An online registration must be completed, but in the section requesting “Availability” enter “Default score of 5 requested.”  Receiving a default score will not negatively impact future ITA tests, nor will future tests fall into the “re-test” category.  Note: The default score is for TAs who only grade. TAs who also hold office hours need to have an ITA score of at least 4, and thus need to take the test.

 

About the Exams

The state of Washington requires international teaching assistants be evaluated before their teaching assignments can be approved.

The Intensive American Language Center provides these exams for the WSU Graduate School. Questions regarding exemptions from the exam should be directed to the WSU Graduate School.

You will be asked to prepare a 20-minute lecture. The lesson taught must be in your field, but not necessarily what you will be teaching as a TA. The lesson should be at the introductory level. It is fine to teach a short lesson on a basic, special-interest topic, such as “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why are whales and bats classified as mammals?”

The candidates are rated on their:

  • Language (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary)
  • Communication ability (use of white board, communication of information)
  • Question handling (comprehending idiomatic questions and responding appropriately)

You should expect to be interrupted with questions during your lecture. The questions are not used to gauge your knowledge of your field, but instead to determine English comprehension and how well you speak without a script.

Recommendations from the exams will not prevent you from receiving an assistantship. These recommendations are used to identify the kind of work you will be assigned to do in your ITA position.

Please note that your ITA exam will be video recorded. The video is used during the evaluation process.

1

Fill Out the Exam Registration Form

Registration Form

 

2

Receive a Confirmation Email

Once you fill out a registration form with your preferred date and time, you will be contacted via email within the following 2 weeks to confirm your selection or be offered an alternate choice.

3

Bring a Department Representative Who Is an Expert in Your Field

Select an exam time that both of you can attend. The exam schedule fills up quickly, so it is a good idea to have at least 2 alternate selections. Your department representative will judge the content of your ITA exam.

ITA Workshop

Held periodically, ITA workshops are open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the ITA exam. However, the focus is on preparing students who will be taking the exam in the near future. To register for the workshop, please email Dustin Hinkle.

Topics covered:

General information on ITA exams

    1. Ratings
    2. Timeline
    3. Best topics
    4. ITA test via Zoom
    5. Best practices
    6. Allowable visual aids

Practice (one on one feedback)

    1. Screen sharing
    2. Introducing self and possible topic

Discussion

Concerns and difficulties

 

Trouble viewing YouTube videos? Try watching here: ITA Workshop 2022

Important Exam Details

  • Prepare a 20-minute lecture on a topic in your field. The material should be at an introductory level. Someone who has never taken a class for your major should be able to understand it. Discrete topics are the best choice.
  • The ITA exam is designed to rate communication and teaching ability in English without the use of PowerPoint or prepared slides of any sort. We are not evaluating your knowledge of your field.
  • Here are some teaching tips:
    • State the learning objectives.
    • Explain the material clearly.
    • Check for understanding.
    • Plan to be interactive and answer questions.
  • Answering questions is a significant part of the ITA exam as it gives us data on your ability to understand idiomatic English and to speak off your planned script.
  • If you do not know the information requested, it is still possible to demonstrate proficiency in your listening and speaking skills by giving your “best guess.”

Retaking the ITA Test

Only 1 ITA test may be taken in each academic session (fall, spring, summer).
ITA tests may be retaken every 12 months. A different topic must be used for each subsequent ITA test.
Requests for retesting within the same 12-month period must be accompanied by the section of the registration form explaining work done, such as:

  • Courses taken (name and duration)
  • Tutors (topics covered and total hours of instruction)
  • Materials used (websites, books, audio/visual, etc.)
  • Hours/day of practice (details of what was done, log)
  • Other relevant factors

Dustin Hinkle
Daggy Hall 217
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
dustin.hinkle@wsu.edu

Office of International Programs
Intensive American Language Center
PO Box 643251
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-3251

Questions?

If you have any questions about scheduling, registration, preparation, or your exam results, please contact us. We are ready to help.

Scheduling and Registration
Dustin Hinkle
Daggy Hall 217
dustin.hinkle@wsu.edu