For graduate students who will TA for either a 500- or 800-level graduate course, both TAs and graduate faculty instructors should familiarize themselves with the Policy for Student Instructional Assistants in Graduate (500- And 800-Level) Courses. Per the stated policy, the instructor of record for 500- or 800- level courses must be a member of the graduate faculty, or approved in advance to teach 500- or 800-level courses, and is always fully responsible for all aspects of a course and its instruction.
Per Penn State Faculty Senate legislation passed on April 7, 1981, “all graduate teaching assistants whose first language is not English” must take and pass an oral language proficiency test. This legislation is in accordance with legislation passed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under Act 76, the English Fluency in Higher Education Act. Therefore, all graduate teaching assistants whose first language is not English are REQUIRED to take the American English Oral Communicative Proficiency Test (AEOCPT), which is offered through the Linguistics and Applied Language Studies program through the College of The Liberal Arts. Every semester, notifications are sent to the departments regarding testing dates, times, fees, and registration instructions. Please be aware that before being permitted to teach, international students must obtain a passing score of 250 or higher on the exam. Any score less than 250 requires enrollment in English as a Second Language courses as defined on the AEOCPT website. If the student chooses to retake the exam, he/she must wait one calendar year before doing so.
PLEASE NOTE: Per recent discussion with The Graduate School, Linguistics, and HRSS, ONLY those students on TA appointments who will assume teaching/instruction duties are required to take and pass the AEOCPT exam. If a student who is to perform “teaching/instruction” duties does NOT pass the AEOCPT exam, they may NOT assume teaching duties as part of their TA appointment; however, they may remain on a TA appointment as a “grader” OR be assigned to a different appointment, such as an RA, if research duties can be assumed. For those TA appointments waiting for a passing AEOCPT score, a screen capture of the passing score, which will appear in LionPath once available, should be sent to HRSS where it will be added to the student’s record. If needed, the AEOCPT scores may be sent to HRSS AFTER the TA appointment has been created in WorkLion/WorkDay.