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I have an International TA!

Who is an ITA?

An international teaching assistant is a student from any country other than the United States who is here, at SIUC, to study in graduate school and has received an assistantship to teach in their department. A student from Canada is considered an ITA, as is a student from Nepal or Cameroon. The designation is a matter of immigration status, not native language.


Do all ITAs have to take the Oral Proficiency Test?

No there are three exceptions to this rule.
Exemptions to the Oral Proficiency Test will be given if you are:

  1. an applicant who is exempt from the TOEFL exam (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and United Kingdom, for example).
  2. an applicant who has recently completed a bachelor's degree (four years attendance and completion of at least 100 semester hours of graded coursework) at an accredited institution in the United States.
  3. an applicant who has completed a master's degree at an accredited institution in the United States, who obtained a TOEFL score of at least 550 immediately prior to beginning graduate studies and who has been in residence in the United States continuously prior to application to SIUC.

Note: Per SIUC policies and procedures , to qualify for teaching duties, candidates must “pass an examination of oral English skill before undertaking classroom duties” (page 17 of the 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog).

Why does my ITA need to take the Oral Proficiency Test?

See “Why does SIUC require English oral proficiency testing?”

State Law

SIU Policies – From the Graduate Catalog, General Regulations and Procedures.

How do I notify my ITAs about the Oral Proficiency Test?

To schedule a test, please contact Catherine Caldwell ( Be sure to have the names of the students who need to test and to select some times when departmental representatives can be present.


  • Certification of Oral English Proficiency – signed by the department, candidate, and dean. PDF
  • Graduate Assistant Checklist – lists the forms needed by the Contract Office to process a GA contract. PDF
  • International Graduate Assistantship Checksheet – indicates if the GA has passed the Oral Exam or if the GA is not teaching. PDF
  • Oral Proficiency Exam Evaluation Form – sample form PDF
  • Sample Letter to be filed in ITA’s graduate student file, in the department. PDF