The International Teaching Assistant Oral Interaction (ITAOI) exam is available to international students who wish to be teaching assistants at MSU and who have successfully completed AAE 451 or AAE 452, offered by MSU’s Teaching Assistant Program.

For more information, please view the ITAOI Exam Summary and Sample Tasks (PDF)

Policies and Procedures

For Departments:

Registration is required. Qualified students may register for the ITAOI exam, starting 3 weeks before the test date, online at the MSU Speaking Online Test System

Next Test Dates:   

  • 2022
    • Monday, December 5, 2022: The registration for the ITAOI exam will be open from November 14 to 28, 2022.

If you have any trouble registering for the test, please email at

All test-takers will be notified of a Zoom link when they sign up for the test.

Note: For ITAOI exam results, the ELC also administers an appeal process in cooperation with the Graduate School. Please see the section Appeal Procedure by Review Board.


Before the test:

I am enrolled in an ITA support course (AAE 451 or AAE 452) and will take the ITAOI this semester. Is the ITAOI a final exam for this course?

No. The ITAOI is not a final exam and will not affect your grade in either AAE 451 or AAE 452.

What if I don’t successfully complete the ITA course I’m enrolled in? Can I still take the ITAOI?

No. Successful completion of either AAE 451 or AAE 452 is required.

I am currently enrolled in, and plan to successfully complete, an ITA support course. May I take the MSU Speaking Test instead of the ITAOI?

Yes. However, Graduate School policy limits ITA testing to one test in any two-month period. This means you cannot take both the ITAOI Test and the Speaking Test in the same semester.

How can I be sure the 6 teaching concepts I will have to choose from are appropriate for me and my field of study?

The ELC Testing Office consults directly with individual departments to assess the appropriateness of teaching concepts assigned to prospective ITAs during ITAOI administration. Students with specific concerns in this area are invited to email related questions to the ELC Testing Office at The Testing Office may consult with a student’s advisor or other departmental representative regarding these questions.

On the day of the test:

Due to social distancing restrictions, the ITAOI will be administered completely online in spring 2021. The details below describe what to expect during face-to-face administration of the ITAOI. Test candidates in spring 2021 will receive detailed instructions from the English Language Testing Office in the days before the test. Spring 2021 candidates should refer to those emailed instructions to learn more about online administration protocols.

After I receive the envelope containing my choice of teaching concepts one hour before the test, may I consult the internet while preparing my lesson?   


Will I be able to use my notes during my presentation?

Yes. You may make notes on your own notecards or a sheet of paper. Your notes will be collected by the examiners at the end of your presentation. Your notes will NOT be read or evaluated by the examiners.

Will I have access to a computer or projector during my presentation? Will I be able to project a slide or image to provide visual support to my teaching?  

Examinees will not have access to a computer during the ITAOI. Use of tablets, phones, and other electronic devices is not permitted. A chalkboard or whiteboard will be provided for visual support of the teaching demonstration.

Will there be time to write a brief outline or draw my visuals on the board before I begin my presentation?   

Yes. Each examinee will be given up to two minutes to prepare for the teaching demonstration by writing on the board.

Who are the examiners?

Each examinee will interact with two examiners, who act both as raters and students. All examiners have extensive experience in the field of English as a Second Language and have received additional training on the administration of the ITAOI from the ELC Testing Office.

I know the examiners will ask some questions during my teaching presentation. Won’t their questions affect the time I have to finish my planned presentation?

Just as in an actual classroom setting, your teaching plan may be affected by questions from your audience. The examiners are aware that their questions affect the time you have to cover the material you planned. You will have two minutes at the end of the lesson to summarize the main points that you have covered so far. You will not be penalized if you run out of time.

Will anyone other than the examiners be in the room during the exam?

No. There will be three people in the room while the ITAOI is administered: two examiners and one examinee.

After the test:

When will my results be available?

Results are released to departments through the online Speaking Test/ITAOI registration system within five business days of test administration. Students can view these results once their departments release them (i.e., make them viewable). If you are unable to view your test results one week after the test, please contact your department about their policy on releasing Speaking Test/ITAOI results directly to students.

If I do not receive a score of 50 or higher, may I take the ITAOI again?

Yes. Students who score below 50 on their first ITAOI may retake the test one time in an attempt to meet MSU’s spoken language proficiency requirement for Teaching Assistants. As with the MSU Speaking Test, the student’s hiring/home department must approve the student’s test registration through the online registration system.