EFS TA Screening and Waiver

All international graduate students who wish to be appointed as teaching assistants or course assistants must first be screened by EFS for readiness to use English in a teaching role.

If you have already completed a TA screening, you do not need to request another one. One TA screening lasts until you graduate from Stanford.

Summer 2022 - due to English language placement testing, screenings and waivers are extremely limited between August 29 and September 26.

No TA Screenings or Waivers will be performed between August 20 and 28.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Screening

Important Guidelines

  • The TA screening should be taken at least one full quarter before the quarter of the TA assignment if possible.
  • We recommend that prospective TAs not attempt the exam during their first quarter at Stanford unless required by their departments.
  • Prospective TAs with outstanding EFS requirements in basic spoken English courses (EFS 690A, 690B, 693A and 695A) are normally not allowed to take the screening exam. Incoming students who are required to take the EFS Placement Exam must complete that exam first and be free of requirements in the preceding courses. 
  • Students who complete the course  EFSLANG 692, Speaking and Teaching in English, are usually cleared for TAing and waived from this exam unless the instructor determines that sufficient proficiency has not been demonstrated. Contact Kristopher Geda for questions regarding this option. 

The most important factor in taking the exam is for the student to be confident that they command the appropriate level of speaking and listening proficiency to take on the challenging responsibilities of teaching in English. Students who believe their English is insufficient are strongly recommended to take additional EFS courses in listening and speaking prior to attempting the exam.

About the TA Screening

This half-hour English screening involves a simulation of an office-hour interaction between a TA and student, during which time the prospective TA's accuracy, fluency, and communication style are evaluated. The prospective TA should bring an introductory textbook from their field. This book need not be the actual book from a course they might TA or CA for; rather, it should be indicative of the type of content covered in such a course. The examiner will select two sections from the textbook and the prospective TA will be given five minutes to decide which of these to focus on for the simulated office hour. The exam will begin with an oral reading to get a preliminary assessment of the prospective TA's pronunciation. This is followed by the office hour simulation with the examiner in the role of a student. No advance preparation is needed.

The result of the exam and immediate, practical feedback is given, along with recommendations. Those who need additional English preparation will be required to complete EFS 692 Speaking and Teaching in English or other EFS courses, such as Pronunciation. Until such requirements are completed the student cannot receive a TA appointment; however, they may be appointed as a CA (Course Assistant) if the examiner clears that option.

Retesting prior to fulfilling the requirements is normally not allowed until at least one quarter has passed, and students may ask to be retested only once before fulfilling their requirements.

Schedule a TA Screening

Note, that you will need to be signed into your Stanford account to access this link. In the same browser, navigate to google.com and click on the circle/photo in the upper right hand corner. You can either switch to your Stanford account or add it by entering your SUNet ID and password. Then the link will work. Personal gmail accounts will not be allowed access to the link. This prevents non-Stanford affiliates from requesting TA screenings. (click on link below)

NOTE:  Students who are native English speakers or who have substantial experience (see below for criteria)in English language environments may request a waiver.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Waiver

Requesting a Waiver

A student requesting a waiver should meet one of the following conditions to request a waiver:

1) being a permanent resident or DACA recipient,

2) completing five or more years of study in the United States or another English-speaking place, or

3) having five or more years of professional experience in English (or a combination of (2) and (3) exceeding five years).

Request a Waiver

Note, that you will need to be signed into your Stanford account to access this link. In the same browser, navigate to google.com and click on the circle/photo in the upper right hand corner. You can either switch to your Stanford account or add it by entering your SUNet ID and password. Then the link will work. Personal gmail accounts will not be allowed access to the link. This prevents non-Stanford affiliates from requesting TA Screenings and Waivers. (click on link below)

Faculty or staff questions regarding TA clearances should be addressed to kgeda [at] stanford.edu (subject: Question%20regarding%20TA%2FCA%20clearances) (Kristopher Geda), EFS Coordinator