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ECC Test

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English Communication Capacity (ECC) Test Details

The ECC Test assesses a candidate’s ability to communicate with undergraduate students successfully in English, as an instructor. 

  • Candidates present a 15-minute, lecture-based lesson on a simple topic from their field. 
    • Lesson topics are created by academic unit faculty and are emailed to candidates 24 hours prior to their chosen ECC Test date. There are at least two topics for candidates to choose from.
    • The location of the test is an OU classroom; the precise location information will be emailed along with the topics. 
    • Examinees will have a white board / black board to use for visual aids.
  • The ECC Test is performed before and evaluated by a panel of trained raters–an undergraduate student, a graduate student, a faculty panelist (depending on academic unit preference and availability), and the ETCS Director.
    • Note that for the Spring 2022 testing cycle, ECC Tests will be completed in-person, except for those nominated for an early, remote test.
  • The fee for each ECC Test is $50.00. 
    • This fee is used to pay the student panelists for each test.
    • Academic units often pay this fee for candidates or the candidates pay themselves via cash, credit card, or check.
  • Candidates can take the ECC Test one time per semester. These tests are offered toward the end of each semester, as specified below.
    • Late March - Early May
    • Late July - Late August
    • Late October - Early December
  • ECC Test scores are valid throughout a candidate's degree program at OU. The score does not expire within that timeframe.
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Skills Evaluated by the ECC Test

Because the ECC Test is a performance test of an individual's ability to successfully communicate using English teaching speech, candidates are evaluated for the following relevant language competencies: 

  1. Oral Competence: Ability to speak fluent, comprehensible English
  2. Listening Competence: Ability to understand questions and comments from students
  3. Interactional/Strategic Competence: Ability to interact/dialogue successfully in the performance context (i.e., an OU undergraduate classroom)
  4. Discourse Competence: Ability to coherently and cohesively sequence language

ECC Test Scores and Performance Features

Level A Performance Description:
The examinee demonstrates fully flexible capacity in each of the measured competencies (i.e., oral, listening, interactional/strategic, discourse). The examinee’s speech can be described as effortless and listener-friendly. While there may be a few non-systemic, minor limitations in the examinee’s language production, panelists can understand and interact with the examinee with complete clarity

Level A Instructional Capacity:
This level of certification means that candidates can hold positions that involve independently instructing a lecture-based, stand-alone course. No supervision or co-instructor is required.

Level B Performance Description:
The examinee demonstrates sustained capacity in each of the measured competencies. The examinee’s speech can be described as adequate but exhibits some lack of fluency and flexibility in language production. Though there are some limitations in the examinee’s language, these do not significantly distract from overall successful communication. Clarification is necessary at times, but the examinee can satisfactorily explain.

Level B Instructional Capacity:
This level of certification means that candidates can hold positions that involve instructing an ancillary course (e.g., a lab, discussion, or activity course), individual music lessons, or co-instructing a lecture-based course with a faculty or Level-A-certified instructor. 

Level C Performance Features:
The examinee exhibits some difficulty, hesitation, and/or lapses in the measured competencies. The examinee’s speech can be described as approaching competence but with consistent limitations in areas such as pronunciation, fluency, and word choice. These limitations sometimes distract from and/or delay overall successful communication, but communication never breaks down. Panelists can negotiate clarification with the examinee when there are communication difficulties. 

Level C Instructional Capacity:
This level of certification means that candidates can hold positions that involve supporting an instructor of record via activities such as holding office hours, tutoring, grading, answering student questions, substitute teaching, and assisting in the classroom. At this level, candidates cannot be listed as an instructor of record.

Level D Performance Features:
The examinee has frequent lapses in oral and listening fluency and struggles linguistically to handle interaction from panelists and to deliver sustained, clear content. The examinee’s speech is notably inflexible, and language limitations can be described as systemic and distracting. There are times when communication breaks down and/or cannot be clarified successfully.

ETCS training is required for examinees who receive the score of Level D, during one of the subsequent two semesters after their ECC Test.

Level D Instructional Capacity:
This level of certification means that candidates can only hold positions that involve grading or setting up Canvas materials or helping with lab/classroom equipment. The position should not involve any instructional interactions with students (e.g., answering students' content questions in office hours or via email).