Oral English Proficiency Test for International Teaching Assistants


According to the Ohio Revised Code 3345.281, all teaching assistants need to demonstrate the English oral proficiency needed before being assigned the teaching responsibility. As the central office of language assessment and language instruction at the University of Cincinnati, the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) is responsible for assessing the oral English proficiency of international teaching assistants and providing them with language instruction.

There are three components in the test: Conversational Questions, Course Policy and Procedures, and Presentation of a mini lesson (see OEPT Student Packet).

A)   Conversational Questions (2-3 minutes): The purpose of this section is to assess ITAs’ ability to engage in somewhat informal, but still academic conversations.  Candidates will be asked to respond to questions that allow them to describe or give opinions in a conversational manner.

B)    Course Policies and Procedures (4-5 minutes): The purpose of this section is to be sure that ITAs can be clear in communicating policies and instructions. Candidates will be asked to play the role of an instructor and present policies and procedures of a course to students.

C)    Presentation of a Mini Lesson (5-6 minutes): The purpose of this section is to be sure that ITAs have a strong grasp of the language and organization required of academic presentation.  Candidates will be asked to present a short lesson on a basic concept from their field.

For each component of the test, candidates will watch a video with the prompt and instructions to prepare for their responses. Candidates need to video record their responses. It is suggested that candidates should not read or recite from the script.


The evaluation of applicants’ video responses will follow a standardized rubric for assessing oral English proficiency and conducted by professionals with expertise in language assessment.

There will be three types of evaluation results: passing, conditional passing, and denying. 

The table of OEPT-ITA score results and their influence on student's TA-ship is listed below

OEPT-ITA Score Results


1.00 – 1.99

Did not pass; Must take 2 or 3 ESL courses before retaking the test

2.00 – 2.49

Did not pass; Must take at least 2 ESL courses before retaking the test

2.50 – 2.99

Conditional Pass; Must take at least 1 ESL course, before, or while teaching

3.00 – 3.49

Passed; May need an ESL course, while teaching

3.50 – 4.00

Passed; Can teach without restrictions

Score Report:

After you submit the test, your response will be evaluated by two trained examiners based on the above rubric. The result will be sent to you and your department Graduate office as proof of your English proficiency and teaching eligibility.

Waiving the OEPT exam

Please email the OEPT Waiver form to oept1@uc.edu (a signature is not required if sent by a graduate department secretary or director).

This form should be completed by a graduate department staff/faculty member and emailed to oept1@uc.edu. This form is to attest that an international teaching assistant has proven oral English proficiency and therefore should be exempt from OEPT.

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Registration - What do I need to do to take the test?

The Oral English Proficiency Test for International Teaching Assistants is available year round.  Please contact CESL Testing Office (oept1@ucmail.uc.edu) to register for the OEPT Test. In your email, please include the following:

  1. Your full name
  2. UC M number
  3. UC username (6+2)
  4. Country of Origin
  5. Department and Program you are enrolled
  6. Name and email address of your program Graduate office staff or faculty
  7. The test you need (OEPT-ITA)

You will receive an email within 2 business days with instructions to taking the test.  If you have any questions, please  contact the CESL Testing Office (513-556-3590; oept1@ucmail.uc.edu).

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How to access OEPT-ITA

1. Go to http://canopy.uc.edu and login.

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2. You will see CESL-Oral English Proficiency Test  under "My Organizations." 

3. Click the link and you will get to the Overview.

4. Please review the information on this page (Welcome, Procedures, Technology Requirements).

5. Click on OEPT-ITA on the left toolbar under Tests.

6. Review the information on this page before starting the test.

7. Follow the Procedures to review the test prompts and record your responses.


Once you are admitted to the University of Cincinnati, you will be given access to the Canopy & Blackboard website. You will be able to log into the website with you 6+2 UC username.