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Screening Tests

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Screening Assessment Details

Speaking Screening

  • The SPEAK Test is used by ETCS as a screening test for oral competency in English. 
  • The scores on this test identify if candidates need further speaking training OR if they are eligible for the ECC Test (the certification test for instructing in English at OU).
  • The SPEAK Test must be taken if a candidate has an iBT TOEFL speaking sub-score of less than 23 or an IELTS speaking sub-score of less than 7.0. 
  • The SPEAK Test is waived if a candidate has the appropriate speaking scores on the iBT TOEFL or IELTS OR has completed a degree at an accredited university or college in an OU approved English-speaking country.
  • A practice SPEAK Test downloadable file is below.
pdf Sample SPEAK Test (pdf)
To see a sample SPEAK test, download the PDF above
  • Candidates must earn a minimum score of 45 out of 60 on the SPEAK Test to establish their oral English capacity for the ECC test.
  • SPEAK Tests are double marked by two trained raters, and the two scores are averaged and rounded to the nearest multiple of five. 
  • Scores usually are available to candidates within a week of a test date.
  • Scores of SPEAK Tests administered at other institutions will not be accepted.
  • The SPEAK Test lasts about 30 minutes and is administered by an ETCS staff member on a computer. 
  • Note that for the Fall 2021 testing cycle, the SPEAK Test can be administered remotely via Zoom.
  • The fee for each SPEAK Test is $50.00. This fee is used to pay the test raters.
  • The SPEAK Test is scheduled by individual appointment.
  • Candidates can take the test two times each semester during the following months:
    • February - Early April
    • June - Early August
    • October - Early November
  • See the Resources and FAQ pages for ways to prepare for the SPEAK Test.
Female Studying

Writing Screening

Candidates whose iBT TOEFL or IELTS writing sub-scores are less than the preferred OU admissable standard (i.e., less than 20 on the iBT TOEFL writing sub-test or less than 6.0 on the IELTS writing sub-test) are required to establish a baseline English written proficiency before being certified to instruct in English at OU.

This WRITE Test is assessed on a Qualify/Not Qualify scale. The following criteria are used to determine the proficiency of a candidate's writing:

  • Varied and accurate sentence structures
  • Relevant topic development 
  • Organization and cohesion
  • Range and accuracy of vocabulary

Candidates who qualify may have occasional mistakes in all the above criteria. The frequency of these mistakes and their impact on the writing's efficacy determine if a candidate receives a qualifying score. 

A trained rater will evaluate the WRITE Test according to the criteria using the analytic rubric provided to the candidate on the test day. A qualifying score is 80/100.

Examinees may review their WRITE Test with the ETCS Director, to see the rater's marks as well as to discuss ways to improve their writing. These reviews can be scheduled starting one week after a WRITE Test date, to allow time for the rating to be completed. Reviews are encouraged for examinees who do not qualify on their first attempt.

The ETCS WRITE Test consists of a 500-700-word formal essay addressing one of two general topics to be announced on the test date. During the testing session, candidates compose the essay, including a clear introduction, supporting ideas/details, and a conclusion.

No outside assistance or previously planned/written work can be used, and personal books or materials may not be brought to the examination. The following reference books will be available for use during the test:   

  • The WRITE Test Rubric
  • The American Heritage College Dictionary
  • The American Heritage Dictionary
  • Understanding and Using English Grammar
  • Roget’s International Thesaurus
  • Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English
  • Oxford Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs

Candidates may take up to two hours to write the essay. The test location is in the ETCS testing room; a computer is provided for examinees to type their essay.

Note that for the Fall 2021 testing cycle, WRITE Tests will be administered remotely via Zoom, and the resources mentioned above will not be available, with the exception of the WRITE Test Rubric.

There is no fee for the WRITE Test, and the test may be taken twice each semester, during the following months:

  • February-Early April
  • June-Early August
  • October-Early November
  • The OU Writing Center offers many training options for developing graduate students' writing.
  • ETCS collaborates with the Writing Center to offer a free writing course for multilingual graduate students in January and May of each year. 
  • Contact the ETCS Office for scheduling a review of a WRITE Test or for additional academic writing campus resources.