International Teaching Assistants/Milwaukee International Teaching Assistant Assessment (MITAA)

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Information for International Teaching Assistants

Background: The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System established policy 20-17 in December 1991 concerning the selection, training, and evaluation of teaching assistants. Section 1.B states: “Non-native English speakers must be required to demonstrate proficiency in spoken English before they are assigned classroom duties as teaching assistants.”

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee International Teaching Assistant Assessment (MITAA) is a requirement for some international teaching assistants who are non-native speakers of English and who will be assigned classroom duties as part of a graduate teaching assistantship.

The English Language Academy (ELA) Office has established the MITAA as the tool for assessing spoken English proficiency of international teaching assistants. The MITAA evaluates English language proficiency, cultural competency, and teaching skills for the classroom. The assessment is administered by instructors in the English Language Academy. Please email the English Language Academy to determine if you are required to take the MITAA, to schedule a MITAA, and to receive feedback on the MITAA assessment and exit reporting. 

Note: Not all prospective International Teaching Assistants must take the MITAA. You do not have to take the assessment if you have a recent (within the last 2 years) standardized test score:

  • 24 or better on the Speaking section of the internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) or
  • 7.0 or better on the Speaking section of the IELTS
  • 185 or better on the Speaking section of the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) or the Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
  • 125 or better on the Conversation and Production sections of the Duolingo English Test

The MITAA is conducted by a panel of three evaluators: one department representative and two ELA representatives. The department representative needs to be a content specialist and/or faculty member who teaches in your department. There is no charge for the MITAA.

You must have a department representative attend your MITAA. You may not take the MITAA exam on your own. You must have permission from your department to register for the MITAA.

 

 

Department Representatives

If you are a Department Representative or Contact joining the evaluating panel and you have not gotten email announcements for MITAAs or would like more information, please contact the English Language Academy at el-academy@uwm.edu.

You can read through our informational PowerPoint for Department Contacts.

 

International Teaching Assistants

To schedule your MITAA, please complete the following steps:

  1. Contact your department to ask if you are required to take the MITAA.
  2. Identify your department representative. Make sure the department representative is a content specialist, such as a faculty member who teaches courses. If you do not know a representative in your department, please contact your department directly. Do not contact the English Language Academy for this information.
  3. Complete the MITAA Registration Form
  4. Consult with your department representative on which time and date best suits both of your schedules.
  5. Once the MITAA Registration Form has been completed and you or your department representative has signed up for an available time slot, you will receive a confirmation email from The English Language Academy.
  6. Appear for your MITAA on the date and time selected. Please do not be late. If you believe you will be late or if you need to reschedule, please email the English Language Academy 24 hours ahead of time.

You can read through an informational PowerPoint for International Teaching Assistants.

 

Before your MITAA:

  • Prepare a 3 to 4-minute presentation (without the aid of a PowerPoint/PPT or handout) in your field geared towards a first-year or second-year level class (a topic of your choice). A whiteboard, markers, and eraser will be provided, which we strongly encourage the presenters to use.

Note: You will not be able to use any electronic devices for the presentation.

 

 

What to expect on the MITAA day

The MITAA session consists of 4 total components. 1 introductory component and 3 assessed components. The MITAA lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.

  1. A short introductory conversation (e.g. warmup questions) on personal, academic, or professional topics. These questions are designed as a warmup prior to the test and is not assessed
  2. One role play scenario, lasting about 1 minute. These scenarios simulate a conversation with a student during office hours. The scenario/topic will be provided on the day of your exam. These scenarios will help us assess your speaking, listening, conversation, and interaction skills.
  3. A presentation of approximately 3-4 minutes on a self-selected topic related to the field of study and suitable for first or second year undergraduate students. You will not be able to use any electronic devices for the presentation.
  4. a question and answer period of about 2-3 minutes following the presentation

 

 

Assessment Criteria

There are 5 categories for the assessment. Each category is assessed on a 1-5 scale (with 5 being the best).  If the ITA does not meet the criteria to pass, then they will be required to complete English for Academic Purposes (EAP) coursework either prior to OR concurrently with their TA teaching duties, depending on the scores in other categories.

A summary of the requirements to pass, as well as a brief description of each category, is outlined below:

  • To Pass with no additional restrictions both scoring benchmarks must be met:
    • In all 5 categories, the ITA needs an average of 15 by all raters
    • Must achieve a minimum of 3 from each raterin the categories
      • Overall language ability
      • Pronunciation
      • Interaction with committee to pass.

If they do not achieve an average of 15 and/or does not meet the minimum benchmarks in the specified categories, the overall score combined from all 3 raters may determine additional restrictions.

    • 45+: No restrictions (no additional coursework needed)
    • 35-44: Provisional pass – required to take EAP 435 concurrent with classroom teaching
    • 34 or below: Required to take EAP 435 before beginning classroom teaching.

Note: After taking the required EAP coursework, the student must sign up for an exit MITAA to determine whether or not they have demonstrated marked improvement.

 

 

Category Breakdown

Overall language ability (a score of 3 in this category is required)

  • vocabulary (word choice & complexity)
  • grammar
  • fluency

Pronunciation (a score of 3 in this category is required)

  • Stress and intonation patterns

Interaction with committee (a score of 3 in this category is required)

  • Able to understand and interact with the committee as demonstrated by response to presentation follow-up questions and role play scenarios
  • Basic listening ability
  • Response to and handling of questions

Organization, Development, and Content 

  • Main ideas clear
  • ideas logically organized
  • ideas supported with details and examples
  • ideas paraphrased, repeated, and reinforced
  • cohesiveness

Presentation Delivery

  • Good Volume, Rate of Speech, Eye Contact, Use of Visual Aids (non-electronic), Non-verbal communication
  • Confidence in material and skills

 

 

Upcoming MITAA Dates

Sessions are in 30 minute intervals

Initial Spring 2024 MITAA Days

January 16, 2024 – 9am to 3pm (Last MITAA slot at 2:30pm)

January 17, 2024 – 11am to 4pm (Last MITAA slot at 3:30pm)