TAPE Course Policies

  • Due to limited space availability, students are usually allowed to take only one TAPE class per semester.
  • If your SPEC score indicated that you need to take a TAPE course, sign up immediately, as classes fill up quickly. If you wait too long to sign up, the classes will be full. If classes are full, you should put your name on a waiting list. As spaces become available (because of drops or no-shows), students from the waiting list will be offered a place in class.
  • If you choose not to take a TAPE class, you will not be allowed to retake the SPEC until you have taken a TAPE class or until one year has passed since your last test. You will only be allowed to retest once without taking a class.
  • If you have taken the SPEC test at least once and are eligible to take TAPE classes the following semester, it is recommended that you sign up the first day of registration. If you are currently taking a TAPE class and will be taking the SPEC after the first day of registration, you should still sign up while spaces are available. If you wait until you receive the results of your test, it is possible that the classes will be full. If you pass the test, you can simply drop the class.
  • If you sign up for a class in a timely manner after taking the SPEC test for the first time, but you get put on a waiting list and no space becomes available in the class, you will be allowed to retake the SPEC test the following semester without taking a class. (You are encouraged to work with tutors in the ELC.) This rule only applies one time. If we offer you a space in a class and you turn it down, you lose the chance to be retested.
  • If you are in the TAPE program because you have previously taken the SPEC test or you are in a TAPE class and you do not sign up early enough to get into a TAPE class, you will NOT be allowed to be retested even if your name is on the waiting list.
  • Students who do not pass the SPEC test after taking a TAPE class will be given permission to register for another TAPE class by the ESL Programs Office. However, you are not registered until you do it yourself through MyUI or go to the Registration Center. When you register you should not be asked for a permission code; if you are, please contact the ESL Programs office.  Also, please note that this permission is only valid until two weeks before the start of the semester. If you have not registered by that date, your permission will be removed.
  • If you drop a TAPE class two semesters in a row, you will not be allowed to register for a class the next semester. You will have to wait one semester before registering for another class.
  • If you receive a failing grade (W) in a TAPE class, you will not be allowed to register for a class the following semester.

In most cases, students who have not scored at least a C on the SPEC test will be required to take TA Preparation: Pronunciation, Fluency Building and Culture. Students who have received a C or above on the SPEC are eligible to take the Presentations course.

Students who have taken the SPEC test and received a certification level of A or B, who are teaching for the first time and whose teaching responsibilities include conducting a discussion section or taking full responsibility for a lecture class are required to attend an Orientation workshop. You should attend the Orientation class the first semester that you teach. ESL Programs will automatically give you permission so that you can register for the class in MyUI.  If you are asked for a permission code when you try to register, contact ESL Programs.

TAPE Course Descriptions

The current semester course schedule is available on MyUI.

You may register for TAPE courses through MyUI.  If you are asked for a permission code, contact the ESL Programs Office.  Remember, you must have taken the SPEC test to enroll in a TAPE class.

TAPE:5100 TA Preparation: Pronunciation, Fluency Building, and Culture  
Pronunciation, Fluency Building, and Culture gives students the opportunity to attain greater fluency for teaching by making short presentations and participating in natural interactions about U.S. culture. It includes intensive work on pronunciation to help future teaching assistants attain maximum intelligibility. This class meets four times per week for 50 minutes.

TAPE:5300 TA Preparation: Presentation Skills
Presentations emphasizes intelligibility of speech and clarity of expression in presenting material and responding to questions. Students practice giving lectures and improve their language skills by viewing and critiquing themselves and others on video recordings. Content material familiarizes international students with the culture of the U.S. classroom. This class meets three times per week for 50 minutes.

TAPE:5330 TA Preparation: Orientation Program
A four-hour orientation program will be required of all students who are certified at level A or B and are teaching for the first time.

This orientation helps new teaching assistants understand the culture of the U.S. classroom and treats topics such as student expectations, teacher-student interactions, and understanding and answering student questions. Discussion focuses on suggestions for maximizing comprehensibility in spoken English. This course meets twice for 2 hours early in the semester.

TAPE Course Fees

Because some of the costs of the University’s TAPE Program courses are now being assessed to the colleges in which the prospective teaching assistants are enrolled on a per student basis, the TAPE Program is initiating new procedures designed to avoid billing errors and minimize confusion about the course fees.

Colleges/departments must pay TAPE course fees for students who are:

  1. employed by the University as a Graduate Teaching or Research Assistant;
  2. required to take the courses as a condition of employment.

Departments will be charged a fee of $750 per enrollment in TAPE:5100 Pronunciation, Fluency Building, and Culture, which meets for four hours per week of instruction.  The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will cover the cost of a first-time enrollment in TAPE:5300 Presentation Skills, which meets for three hours per week.  Departments in colleges other than CLAS will be charged $650 per enrollment for fall or spring, (and $750 for summer when available).  Departments in CLAS will also be charged $650 ($750 in summer when available) for second or subsequent enrollments in the Presentations course. These fees are estimated to represent a portion of the cost of each student enrollment in a TAPE course.

It is the responsibility of each college/department to inform the ESL Office of any student not being supported by the college/department.  It is also the responsibility of the college or department to inform the student that they must pay the full cost of the TAPE course should the student choose to enroll.

Colleges/departments are not required to pay for prospective teaching assistants who are tested but have not been awarded either a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship (those not covered by the COGS Agreement). In this circumstance, the student is personally responsible for the full cost of any TAPE courses unless the student’s college or department chooses to pay.

Early Registration for TAPE Courses

Any student who has been given special permission to enroll in a TAPE course during early registration must register for the course on MyUI at least two weeks before the start of the semester. Failure to register by the date specified by the TAPE Program will result in revocation of the student’s special permission.

Dropping TAPE Courses

The ESL Programs Office is committed to a fair policy on dropping courses and to communicating clearly with departments about all student requests to drop a TAPE course. Therefore, we have implemented the following procedures.

  • To drop a TAPE course without charge, the drop must be processed no later than the end of the first week of classes. The full cost of the course will be assessed for any drops processed after the first week of classes.
  • The ESL Office will not process any TAPE course drops without the consent of the DEO or departmental TAPE Program liaison. Consent must be sent to the ESL Office either by e-mail (esl-program@uiowa.edu) or on departmental letterhead with the appropriate signature.

Remember, if you drop a TAPE class two semesters in a row, you will not be allowed to register for a class the next semester.