Department of Teacher Education

ESL Academic Support Information for Graduate students


Please see ESL Pathway 

  • ESL 1502:  ESL Graduate Writing: Practice writing skills and learn academic formats to prepare you for more advanced work.  Practice Grammar skills as needed.  Assignments from your academic courses can be used in this course.  2 hours/week.  Graded S/U. Offered in Spring and Fall through ESL Continuinging Education.
  • ESL 1504: Communication Skills for International Teaching Assistants: Practice speaking skills for academic work.  Teaching strategies and techniques are reviewed to help you be a better TA.  Listening is practiced as needed.  May be required for an assistantship. 2 hours/week.  Graded S/U. Offered in Spring and Fall through ESL Continuinging Education.
  • ESL 1503: Graduate Intermediate Speaking/Listening.  Practice speaking skills for academic purposes.  Several presentations are done throughout the semester. Listening Skills are practiced as needed. May be required for admission.  2 hours/week.  Graded S/U. Offered in Spring and Fall through ESL Continuinging Education.

Test Upon Arrival 

Some students may receive an admission letter that tells them to contact the ESL Program Director upon arrival to campus.  These students cannot register until the hold has been removed by the Director.  The hold means that there was a score on one or two of the sections of the TOEFL or IELTS that was below the minimum.  The ESL Director will identify the test and send the student to Placement Testing in order to see if any other support classes are needed.  Neither the testing nor the support class will stop the student from beginning his/her academic class.  It is a condition of registration. Results will be sent directly to the student and advising office. 


Any international graduate student whose first language is not English and is a candidate for a TA position must provide a speaking score from the internet-based TOEFL (iBT), the IELTS or the SPEAK test.  While the minimum iBT speaking section score for admission is 17, ETS identifies a score of 23 as the minimum score required for ITA’s, equivalent to a score of 45 on the SPEAK.  A student with a score of 23-25 must be concurrently enrolled in ESL 504 if assigned a teaching assistantship.  However, a speaking score of 26 is identified as the equivalent of 50 (on the SPEAK) for which no further ESL coursework is needed ( On the IELTS test, a 6.0 is the minimum score for admission; however, a speaking score of 6.0-6.5 is identified as the minimum score required for ITA’s with concurrent enrollment in ESL 504.  A score of 7.0 is required for which no further ESL course cork is needed. The ESL Program offers the SPEAK test through the Testing Center, located at Rhodes West 215, for those students who do not currently have a score of at least 23 on the iBT. For SPEAK test procedures and “What to Expect” see the link below. This information can also be sent to you as a separate document by emailing the ESL office (  If the student does not achieve a score of 50 on the SPEAK test, the ESL program provides instruction in either ESL 1503 or 1504.  However, any international graduate student may enroll in these courses. Results of the SPEAK are sent directly to the student, Graduate Studies and to the student’s advisor as identified on the test form.  The Testing Services Office is at RW 215 and can be contacted at or at 216-687-2272.

Speak Exam Procedures and What to Expect