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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the purpose of the ITAP?

The program has two goals:

  • To contribute to the success of ITA's teaching experience
  • To improve the quality of undergraduate education at Cornell University

Who should take the ITA language assessment (ILA)?

All first-time teaching assistants from a country where English is not the first language are required to participate in a 30-minute ITA language assessment. However, if an ITA has a TOEFL iBT speaking score of 28 or higher or an IELTS speaking score of 8.5 or higher, s/he is not required to take the ILA.

What is the purpose of the ILA?

The ILA determines whether an ITA must enroll in the ITAP program and if additional classes are needed.

When should students be assessed?

We recommend all students be assessed during their first semester on campus so they are prepared when departments need them to TA.

How is the ILA scheduled?

The ILA is scheduled, by appointment only, generally prior to the fall and spring semesters. Limited dates are available four times per year. See the ILA schedule for more information

Currently ILAs are scheduled online by graduate field assistants. The graduate field assistants may also arrange for the department's director of graduate study, the student's advisor, a departmental faculty representative or themselves to attend the ILA.

Scheduling an ILA online

Cornell's calendaring service has switched from Oracle Calendar to the new Microsoft Exchange system. Exchange Calendar is now the university's central service for scheduling meetings.

To schedule an ILA for the limited dates available four times per year invite "ITAP@cornell.edu" in your Exchange Calendar meeting request. For specific instructions visit the ITA Language Assessment (ILA) page. We welcome comments, suggestions, or other feedback on the scheduling process. Please email us at itap@cornell.edu.

All interviews are half an hour long and can only be made on the half hour (e.g. 10, 10:30). While scheduling please include the student's name, your department name (or abbreviation) and if needed, the department or faculty representative's name that will attend the assessment.

Appointments are only available during the dates listed here: ITA Language Assessments (ILAs) Schedule.

All meetings must be accepted and confirmed by the ITAP. If your suggestion is denied, the ITAP will contact you via email or phone about another time. The ITAP will respond to you only as needed. No response (or an accepted meeting in Exchange calendar) means your ILA is scheduled.

Please do not doublebook entries.

If you have any questions about scheduling please contact the ITAP at itap@cornell.edu.
For technical help with Exchange Calendar see CIT's Exchange Calendar support page.

How should ITAs prepare for the ILA?

All ITAs are expected to be prepared for the ILA by having filled out a registration form. pdf icon This form should be brought with you to the ILA.

ITAs must also be prepared with a five-minute presentation on an entry level, field specific topic. Generally, an advisor or course professor should suggest a topic most relevant to the ITA's assignment, and the student should have the opportunity to prepare for their presentation in advance.

What are the possible results of the ILA?

There are three possible results of the ILA:

  • ITAP courses are required before beginning a teaching assignment.
  • ITAP courses can be taken concurrently with the teaching assignment.
  • ITAP courses are optional for the student.

What does the ILA consist of?

The ILA consists of two parts:

  • An informal oral interview
  • A simulated teaching exercise, consisting of a five-minute presentation on a field specific topic. An advisor or course professor can suggest a topic relevant to the ITA's assignment, and the student should prepare for their presentation in advance.

Where are the ILAs held?

ITA language assessments (ILAs) will be held in the Center For Teaching Excellence, Room 421 CCC (Computing and Communications Center), located on Garden Avenue Extension. Our building is across from Bailey Hall, directly north of Roberts Hall and west of Caldwell Hall.

Appointments are only available during the dates listed here: ITA Language Assessments (ILAs) Schedule.

Who can participate in the ITA Summer Program?

All incoming international graduate students who will assume TA duties during their first semester are required to participate; departments may elect to have other students attend. After completing the summer program students may still be required to enroll in additional instruction during the fall semester. Students who do not demonstrate readiness to teach during the ILA will not be allowed to hold full TA duties.

Are there exemptions from participating in the ITA Summer Program?

Yes, there are some exemptions that can be obtained from the graduate school. Contact the graduate school or visit their website for a list of these exemptions and directions on how to obtain them. Please note that a 28 or higher on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT does not exempt an incoming ITA from participating in the mandatory summer program.

Who can participate in the ITA Summer Institute?

The ITAP Summer Institute is a highly-selective, intensive program designed for ITAs who want to expand their teaching skills as a TA or prepare for a career in academia. Cornell graduate students who have completed an ITAP course are welcome to apply.