University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering


University policy states that in order to be employed as a TA, nonnative speakers of English are required to be tested for spoken English Language Proficiency (ELP). The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) and its International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Program offers training and support to nonnative English speakers as well as administers the Spoken Test for Teaching Assistants (SETTA) to ensure compliance at the University of Minnesota.

What does Mechanical Engineering Require of prospective TAs?

The ME department requires all nonnative speaking applicants have an ELP of 1 or 2 confirmed by the University of Minnesota at the time of the TA application.

How does the University determine my ELP?

Spoken proficiency is assessed in one of three ways:

  1. TOEFL iBT Test (Internet-based TOEFL speaking subscore)
  2. SETTA (Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants)
  3. Final exam taken after coursework in the International TA Program

Scores on these assessments are converted into numerical English Language Proficiency (ELP) ratings which correspond to eligibility for various teaching responsibilities. For TAs in Mechanical Engineering, additional commitments and coursework may be required to ensure course instructors their TAs are eligible for all allowable responsibilities. (ELP Ratings Table).

What is the SETTA and Do I Need to Take It?

Unless you have an ELP of 1 on file with this University at the time of applying for a TA position, plan on taking the Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants (SETTA). Additionally, plan on enrolling in GRAD 5105 while waiting to take the SETTA. This is departmental policy and is contingent upon acceptance of a TA position in Mechanical Engineering. The class can be dropped once an ELP of 1 is achieved and confirmed. Visit the Center for Educational Innovation for all the information you may need regarding the SETTA and ELPs.

How do I Register for SETTA?

Upcoming Test Dates

To register please send an email to with the following information:

Must Assigned TAs in ME enroll in Grad 5105?

By our departmental policy, assigned TAs with an ELP other than 1 are required to enroll in GRAD 5105. Enrollment should occur prior to the start of classes - even if the TA is waiting to take a scheduled SETTA. The class can be dropped once the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) sends an email directly to the Associate Dept. Head or TA Coordinator confirming the TA has achieved an ELP of 1.