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Spoken English Testing and Placement

The Oral Proficiency Assessment (OPA) and the Skype Oral Proficiency Assessment (S-OPA) are used for placement into one of our two courses or certification. To make an appointment to take the OPA test, please follow the guidelines on the website. You can also call 614-292-1364, or stop by the Spoken English Program office at 196 Arps Hall.

The Exit Interview is an oral interview test to determine if 5045 students are qualified to “exit” these courses and move on to 5050. Because this exit test serves as a final exam, they are administered during the end of the fifteenth week of the semester.

The Exit Interview is a 15 minute “conversation” with two members of the Spoken English Program staff. The topics of conversation usually include general, non-academic questions which give students the chance to talk informally to the staff members for several minutes. Students are then asked to talk about some of the activities in their 5045 class and/or about their field of study.

The interviewers are interested in the pronunciation, fluency, listening comprehension and grammatical accuracy of the students. Success in future courses (e.g. 5050 and 5055) requires a solid foundation in these skills.

The Oral Proficiency Certification Assessment (OPCA) is a performance test requiring students to give a teaching demonstration on an assigned topic from their discipline. The test is observed by a panel who evaluate the prospective teaching assistant’s ability to communicate in the classroom setting. The panel includes Spoken English Program staff as well as representatives from the student’s academic department. Satisfactory performance on this test Certifies the international graduate students to teach or to be Conditionally Certified while concurrently being enrolled in 5055.

TOEFL iBT test results – A score of 28, 29, or 30 on the Speaking section of the TOEFL iBT automatically certifies a student to teach. The iBT is administered internationally and at specified testing sites in the United States.

Students who arrive at the Ohio State University without the required TOEFL Speaking score are assessed by the Spoken English Program on the basis of the Oral Proficiency Assessment. Students may hold their TAship appointments while enrolled in SEP classes, but they are limited to performing certain duties that require no student contact,  such as grading. Departments offering TAships before certification are committed to supporting these graduate students for as long as three terms while they are enrolled in SEP coursework.