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TEST OF ENGLISH ORAL PROFICIENCY (TOEP)

The University of California, Irvine offers  the Test of Oral English Proficiency (TOEP) to UCI graduate students who intend to become teaching assistants.  All international students who are required to take an oral English proficiency exam under the current policy are required to take the TSE, SPEAK, IELTS, or TOEFLiBT at least once before taking TOEP.  The TOEP fee is $70.  The test is administered in the Humanities Instructional Building (see 'contact us' for specific location).

 

Eligibility

All UCI graduate students who have taken the IELTS or TOEFL iBT OR have taken ONE SPEAK test at UCI and received a score of 40 or above are eligible to take TOEP one time. Only those students who receive a score of 4 on TOEP are eligible to retake it without passing an ESL class or completing other approved work to improve their oral communication skills (see the Retaking TOEP tab). Students who receive a score of 40 or below on a second SPEAK@UCI or a score below 4 on TOEP will not be eligible to take SPEAK or TOEP until they have passed an ESL class or completed other work approved by the TOEP coordinator in order to improve their oral communications skills.  Special options may be available during the summer.

NOTE: Students can only take TOEP 5 times. After the 4th test, students must confer with the TOEP-ESL coordinator to decide when the last and final test should be taken.

Test Format

The content of the test is directly related to the academic subject matter that is taught in UCI classes.  The graduate students are asked to arrive 20 minutes early.  During this time, they are informed of the test format and then have seventeen minutes to prepare for the definitions, graph and short lecture presentations that they will make during the exam.  Students then take the test before a panel including a faculty representative, a student representative and an ESL expert.  The actual test takes approximately twenty minutes. 

NOTE: All students who take TOEP must sign a confidentiality agreement promising to abide by the UCI policy on academic honesty and not to discuss any details of the test beyond what is published here.  Anyone who breaks this agreement by sharing or using information on the test will be disqualified and a notation will be placed in the student's TOEP file stating that s/he will not be premitted to take the exam again at any time. 

TOEP consists of the following sections:

1)  Questions:  Students answer a series of questions that assess their everyday conversational skills. 
2)  TA Situation:  Students are asked to give advice or respond to a hypothetical situation about college life.
3)  Graph:  Students explain a graph.
4)  Definitions:  Students define 2 basic academic terms in their fields to assess their ability to explain information.
5)  Short Lecture:  Students present a short lecture. They are given one page of text on a general topic in their fields that contains information for their lectures.  After giving a 3-4 minute lecture, the students answer 2 questions.

Scoring

Immediately following the interview, the panel evaluators rate each student on his or her communication skills on a scale from one to six.  The test is audiotaped.  In the event that the panel is unable to decide on a student’s score, the audiotape is given to a second ESL expert who listens to the audiotape and decides on the student’s score.  The results are returned to the student within one work week.  Test scores are final and may not be contested by the student tested or by faculty. A grade of Pass is to be the equivalent of a TSE or SPEAK score of 50 or better. Students with scores of 5 and 6 on the TOEP receive a Pass and are eligible to TA. No Pass is for students who receive scores of 4 and below.  Students who do not pass TOEP (those who receive a score of 1, 2, 3, 4) will not be allowed to TA until they retake and pass the TOEP with a score of 5 or 6, or obtain a score of 50 on either the TSE or the SPEAK.

 

Retaking TOEP

We do not advise retaking any test of English language proficiency to qualify for TA eligibility until students have first taken an ESL course or workshop to improve their English skills.  The policy of the UCI Graduate Council states that UCI students who receive a score of 1, 2, or 3 on the TOEP or a score of 30, 35 or 40 on a second SPEAK will not be permitted to take another test until they have passed an ESL class or can show proof that they have worked independently on an approved program of activities to improve their speaking skills.

Students must contact the TOEP-ESL coordinator for an approved packet of activities that can be completed if they are unable to enroll in an ESL class; students who choose not to enroll in a class will NOT be permitted to take TOEP/SPEAK again until they take a class. 

Independent work to substitute for a class should be done in the Humanities Instructional Resource Center (HIRC) in Humanities Hall 269 and checked by the TOEP-ESL coordinator. NOTE: Students can only take TOEP 5 times. After the 4th test, students should confer with the TOEP-ESL coordinator to decide when the last and final test should be taken.

Dates and Registration

Dates and Registration

TOEP is given three times each academic year: at least two weeks before the beginning of Fall quarter, at the end of Fall quarter, and at the end of Spring quarter. Students receive their results within one week after taking the test. 

You must register on-line by clicking on this TOEP Testing Office Registration link during the registration period. 

DO NOT PAY for TOEP until notified to do so.  Payments are made to the Cashier's Office ($70 payable to UC Regents) or through UC Western Union.

NOTE: Registration is only a request to take the test; you will be filling out the registration form and submitting your name to be checked against UCI records to determine your eligibility; students (48 in December and 64 in September and June, pending funding and faculty schedules) will be notified of registration status within one week of the close of registration and those selected will be sent information on how to pay for the test; actual test dates/times are not assigned until two weeks before the test.  Eligible students on the waiting list who are not chosen to take one test will be given priority for the next test only.

Check the Program in Academic English/ESL website for other tests available to UCI students.

 

TOEP

TOEP Test Date for 2013-2014

September 9, 10, 11, 12 - 2013
(registration   August 12-16)

December  13, 16, 17 - 2013
(registration November 18-22)

June 13, 16, 17, 18 - 2014
(registration May 12-16)

Please note that TOEP fills very quickly so make sure to pre-register early (beginning at 8:30 a.m. on these dates).

Test Preparation

Students are encouraged to visit the Program in Academic English/ESL website for grad students and follow the links at the bottom of the page pronunciation and grammar websites.  Online activities will help you review some important points before the test.  Recording short 1-2 minute explanations of graphs or important academic terms and then listening to the recordings and writing down what you say is also a good way to practice for the test.

A test preparation workshop will take place one to two weeks before each TOEP.   No registration is necessary.   There is a DVD of the TOEP workshop available in HH 269 which candidates may view in the Humanities Instructional Resource Center.   This link will take you to the handout for the workshop so you can review it in case there is no workshop or you can't make it.  TOEP Handout.

Contact Information

Dr. Susan Earle-Carlin, ESL-TOEP Coordinator, earlecar@uci.edu
Dr. Robin Scarcella, Director of the Program in Academic English/ESL, rcscarce@uci.edu