All international graduate students who are offered or considered for a teaching assistantship are required to take the Oral English Certification Test (OECT). The purpose of OECT is to determine whether ITA candidates meet the oral English language proficiency requirements and whether they need additional language training.

The OECT consists of 2 parts - the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the TEACH. The OPI is a modified version of ACTFL OPI, which is recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) for the awarding of college credit and is used by academic institutions worldwide. The TEACH is a short simulation in the form of a mini-lecture on a teaching topic.

Test-takers' performance is scored by 3 raters. The raters individually assign a score for the overall comprehensibility and effectiveness of each test-taker's performance on the OPI and TEACH. The results are reported to students and departments as one of 4 possible levels of certification: 

  • Fully certified (Level 1)
  • Certified with conditions (Level 2)
  • Certified with restrictions (Level 3)
  • Not certified (Level 4)

Students in these four levels are appointed to different teaching duties. Potential ITAs who demonstrate sufficient English proficiency on the TOEFL IBT, IELTS, or PTE-Academic are exempt from taking one or both sections of OECT.  For detailed exemption criteria, see Who Needs to Take OECT.

The English Placement Test (EPT) is required of all incoming students whose first language is not English. This test is different from OECT. For more information about the test, click here.

For questions about the OECT, please email or call (515) 294-7996.