UVELPE Oral Test (formerly SPEAK Test)

UVELPE Oral LogoDescription:

Before receiving a teaching assignment at UVA, prospective ITAs are required to take the oral portion of the UVELPE Test, which rates general oral language ability. This locally created test is administered in July, August, and December of each year by CAELC and takes less than one hour. The test uses standard spoken English and does not require any specialized vocabulary or advance preparation. The UVELPE Oral Test consists of activities such as giving information, expressing opinions, summarizing dialogues, and explaining graphs or charts.

The test results are used to determine whether a prospective TA could benefit from additional language training to develop the communication skills required in US classrooms (in addition to whatever training is provided by the TA's department.) The UVELPE Oral Test is scored on a scale of 20 - 60.  Based on these scores, students may be referred to the Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) to continue to improve their spoken English before they are released to teach.


Do I need this test?

All prospective graduate teaching assistants whose first language is one other than English are required to take the oral section of the UVELPE Test. There are no exemptions from the UVELPE Oral Test. 

Blue Chevron Point LeftYou can complete the Graduate Record requirement in one of two ways:

  1. Take the full UVELPE Test on or after August 2020, which includes the oral section; OR
  2. Take the UVELPE Oral Test (offered only for students who are exempt from taking the UVELPE Test).

A student's department will determine their eligibility for the UVELPE Oral Test and communicate directly with student about registration. We recommend that prospective international teaching assistants take the UVELPE Oral Test if they meet the following criteria:

  1. They were waived from submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores for their admission into UVA;
  2. They did not take the UVELPE Test in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021; AND
  3. They have not taken the SPEAK Test.

A score of at least 55 on the UVELPE Oral Test is required for permission to begin teaching without completion of appropriate oral language training. To read more about UVA's language requirement, please refer to the graduate handbook here.


When is the next test offered?

The next UVELPE Oral Test will be held on:

January 10, 2023 from 12:00PM-3:00PM Eastern Time & January 11, 2023 from 7:00PM-10:00PM Eastern Time

The test will be held online, asynchronously. More information about the testing timeline will be sent to students after they are registered. It is recommended that all students prioritize these dates to ensure timely recommendations and ESL class placements (if any) in anticipation of their fall semester. Students with unavoidable scheduling conflicts with the above dates are encouraged to use the registration form below so that we can address the conflict.


How do I prepare for this test?

Please refer to our test prep guide found at this link.


How do I register?

Prospective ITAs are encouraged to communicate with their graduate department about the UVELPE Oral Test requirement for their TA-ship. If you were asked by your graduate department to register for the UVELPE Oral Test, please follow this link to do so.