Academic Affairs Manual (ACD)

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Effective: 8/15/1989

Revised: 7/1/2011

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ACD 517–03: English Language Competence and Employment of Teaching Assistants

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Purpose

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To implement the Board of Regents’ policy to assure the English language competence of graduate assistants/associates

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Sources

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Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual - 2–407
Office of the Provost of the University

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Applicability

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Graduate teaching assistants/associates whose primary language is not English

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Policy

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Certification

All graduate teaching assistants/associates (TAs) whose primary language is not English are required to be certified in their English language abilities. Those individuals whose native language is not English will be tested with the Test of Spoken English (TSE), SPEAK test, or the speaking portion of the iBT. For this group, the graduate teaching assistantship/associateship will not be effective until this examination has been passed.

The American English and Culture Program (AECP) will certify all TAs who take the SPEAK test. Students whose native language is other than English will not be permitted to serve as TAs unless they have AECP certification.


Classroom Observation

The performance of all TAs whose native language is not English will be assessed at least once a term (by midterm) in the classroom by a tenured faculty member. Each semester or summer session, a report on the class observation and an overall evaluation of the TA’s teaching performance and English language ability will be filed in the college.


Testing of International Teaching Assistants

All prospective graduate teaching assistants/associates whose native language is not English will be required to take the TSE/SPEAK test or score at an appropriate level on the iBT speaking section regardless of the type of instructional responsibility they will be assigned.

  1. Graduate students whose native language is other than English and who apply for a TA position at ASU will be encouraged to take the TSE/Speak or iBT before arriving at ASU.
  2. ASU’s AECP will provide appropriately scheduled opportunities to take the SPEAK test on campus.
  3. Test scores will be provided to deans and chairs/directors.
  4. Students scoring 55 or above on the TSE/SPEAK or 26 on the iBT speaking section will be permitted to assume primary teaching responsibilities, e.g., serving as the instructor of a class or leading discussion groups. Students scoring 50 or above will be permitted to assume secondary teaching responsibilities, e.g., as a laboratory teaching assistant, reader of tests, etc. Students scoring below 50 or 26 on the respective tests will not be given any teaching responsibilities, until the student is certified by the AECP.
  5. Students scoring below 50 on the TSE/SPEAK or below 26 on the iBT speaking section will be encouraged to enroll in intensive English classes to prepare to retake the examination.

Seminar Implementation

  1. Students scoring below 50 on the TSE/SPEAK test or below 26 on the iBT speaking section will be required to take a noncredit seminar offered by the AECP. The seminar will address three issues: pronunciation, cultural differences in classroom behavior and educational expectations, and instructional methodology.
  2. To pass the seminar and be eligible for an assistantship with primary teaching responsibility, the student will be asked to make at least a 15-minute teaching presentation before a panel of language and/or instructional experts who will judge the student’s ability on the basis of the student’s overall ability to communicate. Academic unit representatives will be invited to observe, but will not participate in the actual assessment.

 


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