Proficiency Rating & TA Eligibility

The University of Minnesota’s language proficiency requirements for TAs state that spoken proficiency be 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, coursework is required in the International Teaching Assistant Program or the Minnesota English Language Program.

ELP 1

You have an ELP of 1 if you scored 27-30 on the TOEFL iBT speaking section, 8.5 or 9 on the speaking section of IELTS, earned 1 on the SETTA, OR passed the GRAD 5105 final exam. With this rating:

  • You are eligible for all instructional responsibilities.
  • You are not required to take any courses in the International TA Program

    ELP 2

    You have an ELP of 2 if you scored 23-26 on the TOEFL iBT speaking section, 7, 7.5 or 8 on the speaking section of IELTS, OR earned 2 on the SETTA, or passed the GRAD 5102 final exam. With this rating:

    • You are eligible for all instructional responsibilities but must be enrolled in GRAD 5105 while working as a TA or instructor in a class, lab, recitation, discussion online or face to face.
    • No International TA Program coursework is required if you are grading, tutoring, holding office hours, or proctoring.

      ELP 4

      You have an ELP of 4 if you scored 18-22 on the TOEFL iBT speaking section, 6 or 6.5 on the speaking section of IELTS, OR earned 4 on the SETTA. Also, if you have an IELTS score of 5.5 that is more than 2 years old, your ELP rating is '4'. With this rating:

      • You are eligible only to tutor, hold office hours, grade, or proctor but must be enrolled in GRAD 5102 while holding a TA position.
      • You are not eligible to teach online or face to face in a class, lab, recitation, or discussion.

        ELP 5

        You have an ELP of 5 if you scored <18 on the TOEFL iBT speaking section OR earned 5 on the SETTA. With this rating:

        • You are not eligible to hold any TA positions.
        • We recommend these courses through the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP): ESL 3602 or ESL 3551.
        • You may retake the SETTA upon successful completion of any MELP ESL course. Contact Barbara Beers for more information.