The Teaching Assistant Preparation in English (TAPE) program is designed for prospective teaching assistants whose first language is not English and who need additional work on English communication skills. Entry to the program is determined by a test. 

All students for whom English is not a first language (as self-reported on their admissions application) and who have first-time appointments as graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are required to take a test to assess their effectiveness in speaking English before they are assigned assistantship responsibilities. This is based on a policy overseen by the Office of the Provost (see the University of Iowa Policy Manual III-13), which was derived from a Board of Regents mandate (see Iowa Code 262.9 #24-5). 

The University of Iowa has redesigned its assessments, and beginning in fall 2024, prospective TAs will take the Spoken Proficiency of English in the Classroom (SPEC) test. The SPEC test assesses TAs' ability to communicate in English in a classroom context in their own field of study.  

To learn more about the SPEC test, including information about preparing for the test, interpreting your results, enrolling in TAPE classes, and support when you begin teaching, use the menu on the left.