Milwaukee International Teaching Assistant Assessment (MITAA)

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.

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
  • 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.

If you are unsure if you need to take the MITAA, please check with your academic department or Mark Sondrol.

Department Representatives

If you are a Department Representative and you have not gotten email announcements for MITAAs, please contact Mark Sullivan at

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 Mark Sullivan.
  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 Mark Sullivan 24 hours ahead of time.

Before your MITAA:

  • Prepare a 10-minute presentation relating to your major and geared toward a freshman or sophomore level class (100/200 level). Demonstrating your ability to use a whiteboard will be used in our assessment. Whiteboard markers and an eraser will be provided. Visual aids are strongly recommended, such as a 1-2 page handout. Please come prepared with 4 copies of a handout (1 for yourself and 3 for the panel). Though a PowerPoint presentation is not encouraged, if you choose to use one, please email it to Mark Sullivan one day ahead of time. *Please note that reading directly off of handouts or PowerPoints during your presentation will negatively reflect in your score. These are to be used simply as guides. 

The assessment consists of three components:

The MITAA lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.

  • a short (about 30 seconds – 1 minute) introductory conversation with the panel on topics such as previous academic preparation or familiarity with the U.S. university environment
  • a presentation of approximately 10 minutes on a self-selected topic related to the field of study and suitable for first or second year undergraduate students
  • a question and answer period of about 5 minutes following the presentation

Assessment Criteria

Each category is assessed on a 1-5 scale (with 5 being the best). International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) must receive an average score of 15 overall and a 3 in pronunciation to pass. If the ITA receives lower than a 3 for pronunciation, then the ITA does not pass the MITAA and 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.

Overall language ability

  • pronunciation (includes intonation & stress)
  • vocabulary (word choice & complexity)
  • grammar
  • fluency

Presentation skills & delivery

  • Volume
  • Rate of speech
  • Eye contact
  • Use of visual aids
  • posture & gestures
  • Self-confidence
  • Enthusiasm for subject
  • Natural delivery

Organization & Content of Presentation

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

Interaction with committee

  • Basic listening ability
  • Response to and handling of questions

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