Policy on Award of Teaching Assistantships

In 1986, the Missouri State Legislature and the University of Missouri Board of Curators adopted a policy which seeks to guarantee effective, high quality instruction for undergraduates. The state has mandated, and the Board of Curators fully supports the ruling, that graduate students who did not receive both their primary and secondary education in a nation or territory in which English is the primary language may not hold a teaching appointment during their first term of enrollment at any public institution of higher education in the state of Missouri. In addition, all such students shall be tested for their ability to communicate orally in English in a classroom setting and, those students who have not previously lived in the United States shall be given a cultural orientation to prepare them for teaching prior to receiving an appointment.

The first two requirements are dictated by the Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 170.012, (http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/17000000121.html) and do not represent a change to the UMKC certification requirements:

  • Students in the above category may not hold a GTA appointment during their first term of enrollment at UMKC.
  • If students in this category have not previously lived in the United States, they must participate in a cultural orientation to prepare them for their teaching appointment.

UMKC Standards

  • Students must have been enrolled at UMKC at least one term prior to receiving a GTA or GI appointment – this is Missouri law.
  • Students must have attained a minimum official iBT TOEFL score of 79 – this is an admissions requirement, not a GTA or GI requirement.
  • A graduate student from a nation or territory other than the U.S. must have satisfied each of the following standards in order to be certified to accept a GTA or GI appointment. The only exceptions are for students who have earned a degree (undergraduate or graduate) from a U.S. institution. Admission to UMKC does not guarantee a GTA or GI appointment; students must fulfill separate certification requirements in order to be eligible for GTA or GI positions, as follows:
    • Attain a passing TOEFL score
      • 24+ is eligible for Panel Presentation.
      • 22-23 needs a departmental petition.
      • <22 needs an Applied Language Institute oral interview.
    • Attend the fall Cultural Orientation.
    • Complete a Panel Presentation (a mock lecture with a student and faculty panel).
      • The TOEFL requirement is a prerequisite to the Panel Presentation.
      • The Panel Presentation will typically be scheduled via email. There will be a panel of graduate faculty members and undergraduate students.
      • The student should prepare 5-7 minutes of a mock lecture on the topic of his/her choice. There will also be a short question-and-answer session following the mock lecture to allow the panel to assess Comprehension.
      • The panel of 6-10 will use a rubric to determine the student’s level of English proficiency. There are 5 points possible in 5 categories, for a total possible 25 points. In order to pass, the student must have an average of 19 points from the panel members. The rubric categories are:
        • Comprehension — can the candidate understand the English spoken by others
        • Fluency/Delivery — does the candidate speak fluently, intelligibly, and without hesitation
        • Vocabulary — does the candidate use terms correctly and use adequate verbiage to represent his/her ideas
        • Pronunciation — does the candidate pronounce words intelligibly and with proper intonation
        • Grammar — does the candidate correctly use grammar and word order

Note: If you want to retake the iBT for the opportunity to receive a higher score, the current iBT cost is $190.

Each student has the responsibility to cover the cost of the exam, but each department may elect to cover these costs at their discretion.

The following table details the roles international Graduate Teaching Assistants can perform based on the internet-based TOEFL speaking section scores and their performances in mock lecture panel presentations.

TOEFL speaking score Panel Presentation Title Requirements
24+ Pass GTA or GI
  • Attend Cultural Orientation
  • Assistants may NOT be the sole instructor in a class, but must work under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • Graduate Instructors may be the sole instructor of a class.

24+ Fail None - can apply for GRA or GA position
  • Attend Cultural Orientation
  • Cannot have direct contact with the undergraduate students in the courses, but can be a course grader in a GA position.
  • Another panel presentation can be scheduled in a subsequent semester if a student wants to become an Assistant to the Instructor in a future semester. He/she may also enroll in English 100S-Special Topics from 1 to 6 credits for one-on-one tutorials via the Applied Language Institute(ALI)1
22 or 23 Student may request a departmental petition to the School of Graduate Studies With an approved petition, a student will be allowed to deliver a mock lecture.
  • If student passes the panel presentation, he/she is eligible to be a GTA or GI.
  • If student fails the panel presentation, he/she may enroll in English 100S – Special Topics via ALI1 as explained below. The student may schedule another panel presentation in a subsequent semester.

Less than 22 N/A None
  • An international student who does not score at least 22 on the TOEFL speaking section is not eligible for a GTA or GI position without a passing Applied Language Institute oral interview.
  • Student can also schedule an Oral Interview via the Applied Language Institute. This one-on-one discussion will allow the ALI representative to assess the student’s English proficiency in several key areas, and recommend to SGS what the student’s next steps should be.
  • Students may be required to enroll in English 100S – Special Topics via ALI1 as explained below.

For information on dates, or to register for the next Cultural Orientation or a panel presentation, contact the School of Graduate Studies (816) 235-1161.

Exceptions to any of these certification standards must be authorized by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Departments wishing to request an exception for a student must submit a written petition for exception to the graduate dean, including full justification supporting the request, prior to the beginning of the term for which the GTA appointment is sought.

If the student decides to retake the iBT they may do so at the UMKC Testing Center, which is located at 4825 Troost, Suite 206, and is the Kansas City testing site. The Testing Center can be reached at (816) 235-5820. The test may be scheduled online, on the phone, or via paper through ETS.

Upcoming test dates/locations can be found here via ETS. The UMKC Testing Center is the Kansas City testing location, and there is an Overland Park location and a Lee's Summit location. Tests are typically offered at least two weekends a month on the Friday or Saturday of the weekend.