The Texas Legislature adopted legislation which requires the establishment of a program to assist faculty and graduate teaching assistants whose primary language is not English to become proficient in the use of English.
Determination of Exemption from Testing. The Provost, based on responses to a survey, will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to determine that English is a person's primary language. Persons for whom such evidence is presented will be exempt from testing.
Testing of Non-Exempt Persons. Persons whose primary language is other than English will be offered two options for testing to determine English proficiency.
Option one is SPEAK, the institutional version of the Test of English. SPEAK will be administered by the University's Office of Counseling, Advising, Assessment and Career Services. A score of 45 will be considered a satisfactory score.
Option two will consist of an interview (or, at the instructor's option, observation during a regularly scheduled class) by a three-person team. Such teams will be drawn from a panel of 12 to 15 faculty and staff. Each team will consist of at least one person with training in language or linguistics and no more than one person from the college/school of the person being tested. Prior to testing, the panel will be given an orientation by personnel in Counseling, Advising, Assessment and Career Services and the English Language Institute. The panel will also receive guidance in evaluation.
Assistance Programs. Persons not performing satisfactorily on the test by the method chosen will be required to participate in an assistance program. The program will consist of 42 contact hours of instruction in the area of spoken English and will be conducted by the staff of U. T. Arlington's English Language Institute (ELI). The course will focus on the reduction of foreign accents and the improvement of oral grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. In addition, there will be an introduction to the cultural expectations of students and teachers in an American classroom. Participants in the course will practice oral English skills in the class under the supervision of ELI staff members and on their own in the Language Acquisition Center. Participants' oral presentations will be recorded so that their progress can be evaluated. The ELI staff will then confer with them individually regarding their particular needs. Persons will be considered to have completed the program satisfactorily when their proficiency has reached a level equivalent to a score of 200 on SPEAK. This judgment will be made by the ELI staff.