International Teaching Assistant

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, SPEAK Workshops, 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

4. ITA Teacher Training Course – In the last 5 years, 74% of the students taking this course have been fully certified, 23% have been certified with qualifications and 3% 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.



The SPEAK test is the local version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE), authorized by Educational Testing Services (ETS) and administered at ASU through Global Launch. ASU does not accept other universities' SPEAK test results. It is an oral proficiency exam.

All prospective international teaching assistants (ITAs) must achieve a score of 55 or higher in order to be certified to assume full teaching responsibilities, such as serving as the instructor of a class or leading discussion groups. Students who score 50 will be certified with qualifications and may serve as lab assistants or tutors. Students scoring below 50 will not be given any teaching responsibilities unless they are certified through the ITA Teacher Training Course.

The SPEAK test emphasizes communicative ability. In the 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 town map and giving directions or interpreting graph information. Two raters who take into account all communicative competencies score each test independently.

Global Launch provides at least 30 opportunities a year to take the SPEAK test (please check the schedule/registration links for upcoming tests below). Scores are posted on PeopleSoft.

SPEAK Test Registration

Important Notes:

  • The SPEAK test fee is $70. This fee is nonrefundable/nontransferable.
  • The test fee can be paid online using either a credit/debit card or PayPal.
  • The SPEAK test is available for ASU students only.
  • SPEAK tests may not be rescheduled.
  • Registration for the SPEAK test is online. Please find the links for each test in the SPEAK test schedule below. 
  • The number of seats is limited; early registration is recommended.
  • Scores will be posted on MyASU within five working days. See instructions on retrieving scores below.

Required identification for the SPEAK test

  • Each test taker must bring either his/her ASU SunCard OR a valid passport for identification purposes
  • If you are wearing Hijab, please contact BEFORE coming to the test so that we can make sure a woman proctor is available to help you with the identification process.

How to retrieve your SPEAK scores

Scores will be posted within 5 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.

Paying for the SPEAK test 

Please open this PDF for payment instructionsAny department wishing to pay for the test for multiple students, please contact


Speak Test Schedule

SPEAK TESTS ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.  Please stay healthy!



Speak Test Practice Workshops

Global Launch is pleased to offer a complimentary service to bolster students’ success on the SPEAK test. There is no need to pre-register for the workshop! All students are welcome to attend any session of the workshop. Join us!

These free two-hour workshops cover the following topics:

  • The Language Lab and materials
  • Testing procedures
  • Test-taking tips
  • Test preparation
  • Retrieving your score
  • How is SPEAK graded?
  • What if I don’t pass?
  • Practice with sample test questions

For more information, contact:

SPEAK Test Practice Workshop Schedule 


These free two-hour workshops cover the following topics:

  • The Language Lab and materials
  • Testing procedures
  • Test-taking tips
  • Test preparation
  • Retrieving your score
  • How is SPEAK graded?
  • What if I don’t pass?
  • Practice with sample test questions

For more information, contact:

Sample SPEAK Test and Helpful Links 

To see a sample SPEAK test, click here.

For help with pronunciation, click here



Summer 2020 ITA Teacher Training Course

Register soon! Space is limited!

The ITA Teacher Training Course is a no-fee course offered to international students who are candidates for a teaching assistantship. This non-credit 8-week intensive course addresses language improvement (pronunciation and fluency), teaching skills,
and cross-cultural training.

During the session, each student is required to prepare at least four videotaped micro-teaching presentations that are evaluated by the instructor during tutorial sessions. At the end of the course, a final videotaped presentation is 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, present a score of 26 or higher on the oral portion of the TOEFL iBT, present a score of 8 or higher on the speaking portion of the IELTS test, or enroll in one Global Launch eight-week intensive English class.


ITA Teacher Training Course Schedule for Summer 2020

Monday/Wednesday/Thursday from 9–11:45 a.m.

The first class is on Monday, May 18, 2020.
The last class is on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

Registration Requirements

Qualified students must:

  1. Have taken the SPEAK test and have scored at least 40.
  2. Ask their department representative to send an email with their name, ID number, name of the department, and a statement that the student is a candidate for a TA position. Please send emails to

Once we have received this correspondence, an enrollment link will be sent to the student so that he/she may enroll online.