Frequently Asked Questions about the Oral Certification Process

What exactly is a Performance Evaluation (PE)?

The UIC Performance Evaluation is a 10-min. mini-teaching demonstration on a topic that is basic to the TAs field and something that the department would expect any new TA to be able to explain as part of their department’s typical TA responsibilities.  One of the PE evaluators will take notes as a student, ask questions, and try to be prepared to answer a quiz question that the ITA will present at the end of the presentation.    The presentations are video-recorded as saved as a record for certification and ITAs can review them on their own or as part of a consultation.

The PEs provide a potential ITA with an opportunity to demonstrate his/her overall level of communication and ability to exchange information effectively and efficiently in a group academic situation.  In the performance evaluation, the ITA will be able to interact with the audience and use the blackboard, overhead, or a handout to support their exchange of information.  Use of power point is not encourage and must have prior approval and a hard copy of the slides provided for note-taking.   The audience will be 2 ITA Program staff or other ESL professional. 

How do I arrange to do a Performance Evaluation (PE)?

To be eligible for a PE

participants must have conditional ibT or IELTS Speaking and Listening admission scores and the support of the appointing department
or have attended another institution of higher education in the U.S. prior to UIC graduate school admission.

To  schedule a PE

call the ITA Program office (312-413-2235) or e-mail to

All PEs will be conducted

in the ITA Program Conference Room, BSB, Rm. 235.

The PE lasts

approximately 30 minutes.

PE scores

will be emailed to the department and to the student within 24 hrs.

Please contact the ITA Program Office, 237 Behavioral Sciences Building, 312-413-2235, if you have any questions.

Is there a charge for the Performance Evaluation?

There is no charge to the student for the Performance Evaluation if it is being done for the purpose of the Oral English Proficiency Certification in order to receive or retain a TA-ship.   Performance Evaluations cannot be repeated without participation in ESL 401 or its consulting services and the permission of the ITA Program Coordinator.

How do I prepare for the Performance Evaluation?

The presenter (the ITA) needs to prepare the following:

Suggestions on how to prepare for the Performance Evaluation.

How not to prepare:


How long does it take to get the results of a Performance Evaluation?

The pre-semester results will be e-mailed to you and to your department generally within 24 hours.   When PEs are done in the middle of the semester when the ITA Program staff is also teaching classes it may take 2 days for the results to be e-mailed.