Qualify as a TA or AI

TA English Language Proficiency Requirement

TA teaching class

The Office of Graduate Studies requires all graduate students, except those with an undergraduate degree from an institution where English is the sole language of instruction (according to the World Higher Education Database or the Office of Graduate Studies), to demonstrate oral English proficiency before they are appointed to Teaching Assistant (TA) or Associate Instructor (AI) positions. You can see the official policy here.

Oral proficiency in English must be demonstrated by meeting one or more of the following requirements:

  • Achieving a minimum score of 26 on the speaking subset of the TOEFL iBT
  • Achieving a minimum score of 8 on the speaking subset of the IELTS
  • Achieving a minimum score of 50 on the SPEAK
  • Achieving a “Pass” on the TOEP

Students can take the SPEAK and the TOEP tests on campus at UC Davis. 

Have I met the requirement?

You can  click here to answer some questions and see whether you have met the oral English language requirements to work as a TA or AI.

You can also use this chart to see if you've met the requirements to work as a TA or AI.

TA Requirements

Comparison of TOEP & SPEAK

SPEAK

(Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit)

TOEP

(Test of Oral English Proficiency)

How long does the test take? 30 minutes 20 minutes
How long should students spend preparing? Preparation isn’t required, but students will receive a sample test booklet upon registration. Students will need to spend a few hours reviewing the test materials and preparing a short lesson.
How do I decide which test to take? Students who do not have TOEFL or IELTS scores that make them eligible to take the TOEP should take the SPEAK to try to become eligible to take the TOEP.  Students who are eligible to take the TOEP must take the TOEP exam to become eligible to work as a TA or AI. Some students may need to take the SPEAK first to become eligible to take the TOEP. 
What scores are given? 20‐60 in increments of 5

P - Pass (eligible to TA)
C - Conditional Pass (conditionally eligible to TA)
F - Fail (ineligible to TA)

What happens if I don’t pass? Students who score below 40 should register for LIN 25 and work on improving their oral proficiency before retesting. Students who score 40‐45 should arrange to take the TOEP. Students who earn a Conditional Pass are eligible to work as a TA for up to two quarters while concurrently taking courses in ESL. (LIN 391 is highly recommended.) Students who fail should register for LIN 25 and work on improving their oral proficiency before retesting. 
More Information Click here. Click here.
To Register Email Barbara Mills at bjmills@ucdavis.edu. Register here.