Center for Educational Innovation

Academic Affairs and Provost

Testing & Eligibility

Overview of Spoken English Testing & TA Eligibility

The University of Minnesota requires high standards of English proficiency for nonnative English speaking students who are appointed to teaching assistant and instructor positions. Spoken proficiency is assessed in one of three ways:

  • Internet-based TOEFL (speaking subscore)
  • SETTA (Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants)
  • Final exam taken after coursework in the International TA Program

Scores on these assessments are converted into numerical English Language Proficiency (ELP) ratings which correspond to eligibility for various teaching responsibilities (i.e., higher proficiency corresponds with more demanding instructional responsibilities.) For ELP ratings lower than 1, ITA Program or ESL coursework is required.



If you are a student, this flowchart (pdf) will guide your testing decisions.

ELP Rating Instructional Responsibilities Allowed How to Achieve This ELP Rating
ELP rating 1

Eligible for all instructional responsibilities.

No coursework required.

27-30 on TOEFL ibt speaking

ELP 1 on SETTA

Pass GRAD 5105 final exam

ELP rating 2

Eligible for all instructional responsibilities.

GRAD 5105 required if teaching (e.g., a class, lab, recitation, discussion, etc.)

No coursework required if grading, tutoring, holding office hours, or proctoring.

23-26 on TOEFL ibt speaking

ELP 2 on SETTA

Pass GRAD 5102 final exam

ELP rating 4

Eligible only to tutor, hold office hours, grade, proctor. Not eligible to teach.

GRAD 5102 is required.

18-22 on TOEFL ibt speaking

ELP 4 on SETTA

ELP rating 5

Not eligible for any TA position.

Recommended courses through the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP): ESL 3602 or ESL 3551.



Students may retake SETTA upon successful completion of any MELP ESL course and should contact Barbara Beers at beer003@umn.edu for more information.

<18 on TOEFL ibt speaking

ELP 5 on SETTA

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