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General Requirements

Test of Spoken English for International Students

All international students who have not completed an academic program in a U.S. university are required to take the American English Oral Proficiency Test administered by the Linguistics and Applied Languages Studies Department at Penn State. The test is designed to evaluate graduate students before they could be utilized by the department as Teaching Assistants and Instructors.

The results from this test are used to recommend remedial steps, if any, to be taken by the graduate student. The Center's evaluation is done in terms of the following proficiency codes:

  • NR = No Restrictions.
    This person should be allowed to teach with no restrictions based on ability to communicate in English (PSU American English Oral Communicative Proficiency Test Score of = 250-300 or Official TSE Score of 55-60).
  • WR = Take ESL 118G.
    This person should not be allowed to teach before completing and receiving a grade of "A": in ESL 118G. "American Oral English for ITA's III."
    (PSU American English Oral Communicative Proficiency Test Score of = 230-249 or Official TSE Score of 45-50).
  • TC = Take ESL 117G.
    This person should not be allowed to teach before completing and receiving a grade of "A" in both ESL 117G - "American Oral English for ITA'S II." And ESL 118G - "American Oral English for ITA'S III." (PSU American English Oral Communicative Proficiency Test Score of = 200-229 or Official TSE Score of 35-40).
  • SL = Speaking/Listening.
    This person should enroll in ESL 115G - "American Oral English for ITA'S I and receive a grade of "A" before taking ESL 117G and ESL 118G." (PSU American English Oral Communicative Proficiency Test Score below = 200 or Official TSE Score of 20-30).

All international students will be notified of the test dates, and each student must take the test at the first available opportunity after he or she arrives at Penn State. Doctoral students who score below 250 are required to take all of the prescribed courses up to and including ESL 118G.

Master's of Science students are required to take one of the prescribed courses. More information concerning the TSE can be obtained from the Programming English as a Second Language, 305 Sparks Building, (814) 865-7365. This test must be completed before a student can receive any advanced degree from Penn State.

Students that have taken the TSE before arriving at Penn State should see the Graduate Staff Assistant for assistance in interpreting their scores.

Updated on 07/25/14

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