Center for Teaching and Learning

Spoken English proficiency appeal interviews

In Memo 15, the Graduate School states that students who indicate in their graduate school application that they are not native speakers of English must demonstrate spoken English proficiency in order to be a TA with direct interaction with students. If a student’s spoken English proficiency score is below the required minimum but still within a certain range (see below), the student is eligible for a spoken English proficiency appeal interview, which the department will need to arrange. 

The interview is a 20-minute informal conversation with three UW representatives: one from the UW Graduate School, and two from English Language Programs. After the conversation a Graduate School representative will email the student and the department with results.

Below you will find some Frequently Asked Questions about spoken English proficiency appeal interviews.

Frequently asked questions

How do students qualify for an appeal?

To qualify for an appeal, students must have a test score in the following range on file with the UW Registrar’s office:

  • 23-25 on the speaking portion of TOEFL iBT
  • 6.0-6.9 on the speaking portion of the IELTS
  • 56-64 on the Versant English Test

Students who have a test score that is in this range but not on file at UW will need to have the testing service send the score to the UW Registrar. Appeals can only be scheduled when this test score is on file in the UW Student Database.

What if the test score is higher?

Students who have a test score on file at the UW that is higher than the scores in this range are already cleared to teach and do not need to appeal.

What if the test score is lower?

Students who have a test score on file at the UW that is lower than the scores in this range are not eligible to appeal. They can consider taking the Versant English test, or enroll in English 105.

How is the appeal interview scheduled?

Only the Graduate Program Advisor (GPA) or Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) can schedule the interview. Students should contact their GPA or GPC if they would like to schedule an appeal interview.

GPAs or GPCs can request an interview here:

What happens after the department has requested an interview?

A member of the graduate school will email the student at a UW email address to confirm a time and place for the interview. Interviews are typically scheduled for every other Friday, except during breaks and between quarters.

How can students prepare for their interview?

Students do not need to do anything to prepare for their interview other than to practice their English conversation skills. The interview committee will be assessing whether the student’s English communication skills are strong enough to communicate effectively with students in the classroom.

Where is the interview held?

The interviews are usually held in Center for Teaching and Learning, Gerberding Hall Suite 100. Students will get a notification in their UW email with more details after the department has submitted an appeal request.

What happens at the appeal interview?

The interview is a 20-minute informal conversation with three UW representatives–usually one from the UW Graduate School, and two from English Language Programs. The representatives will engage the student in a conversation to listen to their English oral communication skills.

When will students find out if they have passed?

Usually within two business days of the interview, a representative from the Graduate School will email the student and the department contact with the outcome of the appeal.

What happens if the student passes/fails the appeal?

  • Students who pass will be cleared to teach.
  • Students who do not pass can enroll in English 105, “Academic English for International Teaching Assistants.” After they pass English 105, students are eligible to teach at UW.
  • Students can also retake the Versant English Test.

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