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ESL|Modern and Classical Languages


Frequently asked questions regarding the Oral Proficiency Interview


-Who has to take the OPI?

Only STATE-FUNDED international Teaching Assistants have to take the Oral Proficiency Test.

Note: Non state-funded graduate students, e.g. Research Assistants, may be registered

for the test (by their departments) if they and/or their departments wish an assessment

of their English oral skills.


-Are exemptions possible?

Yes. -  International state-funded graduate students who hold a degree from an American

university and have lived in the US for at least two years can be exempt from the OPI.

Note:  A student who meets these prerequisites is never automatically exempt from the test:

The student’s department always has to give its consent to a student’s exemption.


-When are the test dates?

ESL, in accordance with the University of Wyoming’s  colleges, sets up two Oral Proficiency

Interview sessions per year, in August and in January, ideally 10 to 12 days prior to the start

of the semester.

Fall 2016 Oral Proficiency Interviews (for students starting their teaching assistantship in Fall 2016) are on August 17 and 19, 2016. 

There will be an additional test date for late arriving students. (to be announced)


-How can I register for an Oral Proficiency interview?

Only your department (usually the graduate coordinator) can register you for your Oral

Proficiency Interview.  But, you can help them by providing  the following information as soon

as you know you are accepted at UW:

  • State-funded or grant-funded
  • Last and first name (make clear, please)
  • Current email address
  • Country of origin
  • Arrival date in Laramie / Already on campus
  • TOEFL/ IELTS score (including sub-scores)


-What has my graduate coordinator to do?

Your graduate coordinator will forward a registration form to the ESL coordinator, Petra

Heinz, for each of the department’s state-funded teaching assistant. Petra will schedule a

test date, time and location for you and will email this information to you and your

graduate coordinator.


-When and how do I receive my test result?

In a scoring letter (example), the test result will be emailed to you and your department one week

prior to the start of the semester.


-Do I have to take action after I received my result letter?

In general -yes! Contact your graduate coordinator and /or advisor and get to know in which way

the OPI result will affect your semester planning:

Depending on your English proficiency level, you qualify to teach a class or a lab, or you will register for Oral Skills Lab hours (link to Lab registration) or enroll in English Oral Skills class (ESL 2110).

The proficiency level "Advanced Low" qualifies you to teach a lab or to lead a seminar or discussion group (under supervision).

The proficiency level "Advanced Mid" or higher qualifies you to teach a course (under supervision).

The proficiency level “Intermediate High” or lower requires you to take an English Oral Skills course and to re-test

at the end of the semester, but it also qualifies you to grade papers and to do your research. 

If you have more questions, be sure to ask them. The ESL coordinator and your department’s graduate coordinator are here to help you.

-How can I find out more information about the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interviews?

The ACTFL website provides information about rating criteria and speech samples at different proficiency levels

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