International Teaching Assistant English Qualifications

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 the ITA Teacher Training Course are administered through the ITA Program, which has served thousands of students for over 30 years. 

How can an international graduate student demonstrate English language proficiency?

There are four ways a student can fulfill the English language requirement. Any of the following will fulfill the language requirement.

There are three possible outcomes:  

  • Fully certified – The graduate student may be given full teaching responsibilities
  • Certified with qualifications – Depending on a department’s internal guidelines, the graduate student may possibly be able to teach lab classes, tutor, teach online classes where speaking is not required and/or be a grader. 
  • Not certified – students not attaining the scores presented below, may not be given any type of teaching responsibilities.

1. SPEAK test  - The SPEAK Test is administered on the ASU Tempe campus by Global Launch multiple times a year. Only SPEAK scores from Global Launch are allowed.

            Scores:  full certification = 55+     certified with qualifications = 50

2. IELTS test – Speaking section score only

            Scores: full certification = 8     certified with qualifications = 7.5

3. TOEFL iBT – Speaking section score only

            Scores: full certification = 26     certified with qualifications = 24

(Please note that the scores referred to above are only valid for a period of two years.)

4. ITA Teacher Training Course — In the last 6 years, 76% of the students taking this course have been fully certified, 22% have been certified with qualifications and 2% have not been certified to teach.

Important information about TOEFL waivers -The TOEFL waiver offered to students for admission purposes does not extend to spoken English certification. To become certified to teach, demonstrating spoken English comprehensibility through one of the four above-mentioned methods is required. 

ITAs teaching foreign language classes in which they primarily teach in the target language may be certified with a score of 50 on the SPEAK test, a 7.5 on the speaking portion of the IELTS, or a score of 24 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT.

ASU Online SPEAK Test

The SPEAK Test is administered online by Global Launch multiple times a year. Only SPEAK scores from Global Launch are allowed.

The SPEAK test is the local version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and is administered for ASU through Global Launch. ASU does not accept SPEAK test results from other institutions. It is an oral proficiency exam.

The ASU SPEAK test emphasizes communicative ability. In this online 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 map and giving directions or interpreting graph information. Two raters, who consider all communicative competencies, score each test independently.

The ASU SPEAK Test is an online test available year-round. It can be taken from any locality with sufficient internet access. Scores are posted in PeopleSoft within 7 business days of taking the test.


SPEAK Test Registration

Registration information

  • Register for the test date you want. Test registration closes on Monday at 12:01 a.m. MST before the Wednesday test. You can not register on Monday or Tuesday before the test date.
  • The $90 ASU Online SPEAK Test fee is nonrefundable/nontransferable
  • Scores on the ASU Online SPEAK Test are only accepted at ASU


Register for SPEAK Test


 Note: Registration closes two days before the test.


January 3 August 7
January 17 August 14
January 31 August 28
February 7 September 11
February 21 September 25
March 6 October 2
March 20 October 16
April 3 October 30
April 17 November 6
May 1 November 20
June 5 December 4
June 19  


Sample SPEAK Test and Helpful Links 

To see a sample SPEAK test, click here.

For help with pronunciation, click here

Taking the test

  • You will receive a link to the ASU Online SPEAK Test via email no later than 12 p.m. Arizona time on the day of your test. You will have 24 hours from the time you receive the link to take the test.

  • If you do not see the link in your inbox, please check your junk mail.

  • Make sure to have your current passport or a government or ASU issued picture ID (with your name in English) for identification purposes.

  • Choose a quiet, well-lit place to take the test where no one else is present.

  • Make sure you have a computer with a front-facing camera, a microphone and speakers. You can NOT use a tablet or cell phone to take this test.

  • The test will take about 20 minutes.

  • Test results will be posted in PeopleSoft within 7 business days of taking the test.


Take SPEAK Test


Retaking the test

Global Launch does not recommend taking the ASU SPEAK test more than twice in two weeks. Global Launch recommends waiting two months before retaking the test in order to have the best chance of demonstrating measurable language gains.

How to retrieve your SPEAK scores

Scores will be posted within 7 business days of the test.

  • Go to My ASU
  • Under My Classes, click on “Transcripts & Test Scores” (If “Transcripts & Test Scores" is not an option, click on “Grades and Transcripts”)
  • Then click on “Placement/Admission Scores” to see your score.

ITA Intensive Teacher Training Courses

The ITA Teacher Training Course is a no-fee course offered to international students who are candidates for a teaching assistantship. This non-credit intensive course addresses language improvement, teaching skills, and cross-cultural training.

During the session, each student will prepare and deliver four videotaped practice micro-teaching lessons on fundamental topics in his/her field of study. At the end of the session, a 5th final videotaped presentation will be 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 reenroll in the ITA Teacher Training Course, retake the SPEAK test or enroll in an Global Launch eight-week-long intensive English class.

Registration Requirements

Qualified students must:

  1. Have a score of at least 40 on the SPEAK test (or at least a 6 on the speaking section of the IELTS test, or at least a 21 on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT)

  2.  Ask a department representative to send an email with the student’s name, ID number, name of department, and a statement that the student is a potential candidate for a TA position. Please send emails to

Once this correspondence is received, an enrollment link will be sent to student for registration.