November 8, 2022

Policy 5.2: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English

As of 8/4/2020, the Graduate School has temporarily waived the requirement of the speaking subscores for the appeal interview. A department may request an appeal interview for any student or applicant who has met the general English Language proficiency requirement.

As stated in Section 3 of Executive Order 28 and Policy 5.1, the University expects that newly appointed Teaching Assistants (TAs) receive appropriate training, supervision and support. Graduate students who are not native speakers of English as indicated in the applicant profile may be appointed as TAs with teaching duties if they fulfill the three requirements below.

Teaching duties are defined as direct interactions with students for instructional issues. Examples include: holding office hours; reviewing test or paper scores with students; working with students one-to-one in study centers, such as writing, mathematics, chemistry, etc.; tutoring; conducting labs; leading discussions; helping students solve problem sets; commenting on studio work; lecturingm.

5.2.1     Requirements

The following requirements must be satisfied before receiving the graduate appointment with teaching duties.

1. Meet the general English language proficiency (ELP) requirement as stated in Policy 3.2.

2. Meet the additional spoken English language proficiency requirement in one of the five following ways:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom, where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus. (Note: A master’s degree does not satisfy this requirement).
    • Hold a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Juris Doctor (JD) from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States where English is the medium of instruction.
    • Demonstrate spoken English proficiency with a test score on file at the University of Washington of at least:
      • 26 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT
      • 7.0 on the speaking section of the IELTS
    • Pass a one-time appeal interview. If a student has one of the scores below on file with the University of Washington, a graduate program can submit an online request for a one-time appeal interview.
      • 23-25 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT.
      • 6.0-6.9 on the speaking section of the IELTS
      • Note: students who have not satisfied the general English proficiency requirements as stated in Policy 3.2 are not eligible for an appeal interview.
      • An appeal candidate must receive an overall score of 34 (out of a possible 45) points to pass and be immediately eligible to assume TA responsibilities without taking ENGL 105.
    • Pass English 105. This course is designed specifically for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) and is offered by UW’s Academic English Program (AEP). While a student is completing English language proficiency requirements, that student can be assigned teaching duties that do not include direct interaction with students. Such duties can include, but are not limited to, grading, setting up labs, preparing instructional materials, running equipment in classrooms.

3. TAs who are not native speakers of English as indicated in the applicant profile and do not hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States are required to participate in additional TA-specific training from the Center for Teaching & Learning prior to their appointment. See the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Teaching@UW: Strategies for TAs for details.

5.2.2     Exceptions

An academic unit teaching modern spoken languages may apply to the Graduate School for a program-level waiver to #2 under Policy 5.2.1 that may be used for specific graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program when the following two conditions are met:

  • the teaching assistant’s teaching duties are conducted exclusively in a non-English target language of the academic unit
  • the teaching assistant is a native speaker of the language of their assigned courses. Requirements #1 and #3 of the general policy must still be met.

Policy 5.2 revised: December 2021

Policy 5.2.1, section 3 revised: February 2023