minimum Toefl speaking score required by TA

Ofey89
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:32 pm

minimum Toefl speaking score required by TA

Postby Ofey89 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:04 am

Hello everyone.
I have just received my Toefl scores from ETS with a total score of 103 (R 29, L 25, S 24, W 25).
I have already checked the various english and toefl minimum requirements for different programs (even top-tier ones) and I haven't found anything greater than 100. So I guess I'll have no restrictions on where to apply based (solely) on my toefl scores.
Now, I still have a couple of doubts that I need to ask you about:

1- Given that my score is above or well above the minimum toefl requirement, does the admission committee still discriminate between candidates with different toefl scores?

2-In the hypothesis that I get accepted into a certain program, and that I receive some sort of Teaching Assistanship funding, will my speaking toefl score of 24 be enough to be eligible?

Thanks a lot!

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: minimum Toefl speaking score required by TA

Postby Catria » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:10 pm

Ofey89 wrote:Hello everyone.
I have just received my Toefl scores from ETS with a total score of 103 (R 29, L 25, S 24, W 25).
I have already checked the various english and toefl minimum requirements for different programs (even top-tier ones) and I haven't found anything greater than 100. So I guess I'll have no restrictions on where to apply based (solely) on my toefl scores.
Now, I still have a couple of doubts that I need to ask you about:

1- Given that my score is above or well above the minimum toefl requirement, does the admission committee still discriminate between candidates with different toefl scores?

2-In the hypothesis that I get accepted into a certain program, and that I receive some sort of Teaching Assistanship funding, will my speaking toefl score of 24 be enough to be eligible?

Thanks a lot!


In practice, all the scrutiny that is given to TOEFL scores pertain to the type of TA assignment you will be given. You might have to take an extra English course if your TOEFL score falls within a certain range, you might be restricted to grading, but I do not think you will be unable to TA and just give out a RA to you until you gain the ability to TA.

Minnesota used to hand out RAs to students whose speaking subscore is abysmal (I think it's 17 and below; then again, it doesn't happen very often and the last student to be subjected to such a treatment has either graduated or will graduate soon, but Minnesota has rather lenient TOEFL standards, 80+ with 21+ on reading and writing) but these RAs lasted until they pass the first English course they are assigned (out of a total of 3) at which time they would switch to grading TA assignments. You could easily imagine the professor being unhappy with that albatross of a student because that student spent a lot of time on coursework and incur the whole TA overhead for one semester, leaving not much time for actual research work. Nowadays, if one such student matriculated at Minnesota, that student would shadow other TAs rather than to be thrown into the RA fire.

At Minnesota in particular, if you made no improvement during the TA training camp, you would still TA with lab and discussion sections but would have to take 1 extra English course.

TakeruK
Posts: 815
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: minimum Toefl speaking score required by TA

Postby TakeruK » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:04 pm

At my school, there is no distinction between an TOEFL score required for admission vs. a TOEFL score required for TAing. It is assumed that if the school thinks your "on-paper" English ability is good enough to be admitted and communicate with your colleagues, instructors, collaborators, etc. then it should also be good enough for TAing. Or, to put it another way, our school does not believe in accepting students whose TOEFL scores aren't good enough to TA and basically lumps on-paper proficiency in English with ability to be an effective researcher.

However, there is an "English screening" that takes place on campus after you arrive. You will sit down and have a conversation with an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor. This practical screening / in person chat will determine whether or not you need to take an ESL course during your first semester. This is an evening course taught for free that is meant to help new English speakers develop confidence in their own ability--it is not an English instruction course (students that still need to learn English would not have been accepted). This course would be mandatory before you can be a TA (although if you must TA in your first semester, then you must take it concurrently with your TAship).

Ofey89
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:32 pm

Re: minimum Toefl speaking score required by TA

Postby Ofey89 » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:13 pm

Awesome, thank you both :D




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