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English Proficiency Requirements for GTAs

Please refer to the WVU English Language Learning Institute (ELLI) for the most up-to-date information regarding language proficiency examination options and proficiency requirements for GTAs.

I n addition to demonstrating English proficiency for admission to West Virginia University, all Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) are required to provide evidence that they have an adequate level of speaking proficiency to instruct a course in English (or, in some cases, in another language).  Using tests that have a separate speaking component, the TOEFL iBT and IELTS, a satisfactory speaking score can be used to indicate English speaking proficiency. Only official scores will be accepted for this purpose.  Any student who has been required to demonstrate English proficiency in order to be admitted to West Virginia University must also meet additional standards in order to engage in assistantships that involve classroom instruction.

Minimum Scores

The requirements vary based on whether the GTA will teach in English or another language.  WVU accepts speaking section scores from the TOEFL iBT Home Edition and TOEFL iBT Paper Edition, as well as scores from IELTS.

  • For GTAs who teach in English, a score of 22 on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT or a score of 7.5 on the speaking section of the IELTS will satisfy the English-speaking proficiency requirement.
  • For GTAs who teach in a language other than English, a score of 18 on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT or a score of 6.0 on the speaking section of the IELTS will satisfy the English-speaking proficiency requirement.
If you were required to submit proficiency for admission, and you submitted scores from any other test (e.g. Duolingo, TOEFL Essentials, etc.), then you must take TrueNorth in order to qualify to hold a GTA.


  • If you submitted scores for TOEFL or IELTS for admission, your program should be able to look up whether you have a qualifying score on file. They will contact you if they need additional information.
  • If you are required to take TrueNorth to qualify for a GTA position, your program will provide you information about registration and payment.
  • When you have completed the assessment, your program will confirm whether you have a qualifying score and will communicate with you about your next steps
Faculty and Staff
  • Please be aware students should have a qualifying score through any of the acceptable options before a GTA offer is made. Please check scores carefully.
  • If the minimum test scores are met, nothing else needs to be done. You may proceed with the offer.
  • If the scores on the standardized tests do not meet the minimum threshold (and the student has not previously passed the SPEAK test), the potential GTA can sign up for a TrueNorth® speaking test through ELLI.
  • Please provide your student with instructions for registration, explain the program policy on covering for the fee, and communicate next steps with your prospective GTA.
  • Provide this link for students to register and pay for TrueNorth.
  • Provide this link for programs to register and pay on behalf of students.
  • Confirm the student’s score and eligibility after the TrueNorth assessment has been completed
  • Email with any questions.
  • TrueNorth® test score minimums: The score needed is either 7.5 for GTAs who teach in English or 6.0 for GTAs who teach in a language other than English (such as foreign language classes).