The Appeal Exam

  1. Purpose and Rationale
  2. Components of the Appeal Exam
  3. Evaluators
  4. Evaluation criteria
  5. General Rating Criteria
  6. Specific Rating Criteria
  7. Preparation for the Exam
  8. Final Ranking Codes


A. Purpose and Rationale

The Appeal Exam provides candidates who score NC4 (borderline fail) with a second opportunity to demonstrate their English skills. Students who feel that their performance in the initial TEPAIC oral interview did not accurately reflect their readiness to use English to carry out the duties of an AI may register to take a teaching performance exam.

This exam evaluates English language skills in the context of the classroom and the office hour. The Appeal exam is not a test to determine pedagogical skills. However, competent public speaking and teaching skills, familiarity with field specific vocabulary, and effective communication strategies can sometimes compensate for language limitations.

In addition to a short interview, candidates demonstrate their ability to teach at an undergraduate level, answer questions in an office hour role play, and respond to typical student questions.

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B. Components of the Appeal Exam

The IU Appeal Exam is modeled on the University of Michigan's Graduate Student Instructor Oral English Examination.

The Appeal Exam consists of 4 components.

  1. Background interview (5-10 minutes)
    The evaluators ask the candidate general questions about his/her background and educational interest.

    The candidate is evaluated on the clarity, fluency and intelligibility of his/her speech, on whether he/she is an active participant in the dialogue, and on his/her ability to understand the interviewers' questions.

  2. Teaching Segment: Presentation of a short planned lesson (10 minutes)
    The candidate prepares a short explanation of a problem or concept. The topic should be appropriate for an undergraduate audience in an introductory level course or lab. Evaluators may interrupt a presentation to ask a question about the material being introduced.

    The candidate is evaluated on language skills, presentation skills, teaching strategies and understanding of and response to student questions. The candidate may use the chalkboard to enhance the presentation. The evaluators accept a variety of communication styles and are mainly concerned with how well the candidate promotes comprehension of the topic.

  3. Office-Hour Role Play (5 minutes)
    One of the evaluators will play the role of an undergraduate seeking advice
    or guidance about administrative matters related to the course or subject matter of a lesson.

    The candidate is evaluated on clarity and fluency of expression, on interactional communication skills, and on ability to grasp the intent of the question and to clarify misunderstandings.

  4. Question Period (5 minutes)
    Using a variety of voices, typical student concerns are presented via videotape. The candidate responds to 10 short questions (e.g., Excuse me, could you tell me where your office is?). There is no single correct answer to the questions.

    The candidate is evaluated on his/her ability to understand and respond appropriately to the majority of the questions.

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C. Evaluators

A team of three evaluators conducts the Appeal Exam. The team consists of two language specialists from the Intensive English Program in the Department of Second Language Studies, and an undergraduate student. Each candidate's department is invited to send a representative to observe the interview and join the team.

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D. Evaluation criteria

Immediately after a candidate finishes his/her exam, the evaluators individually rate the exam, discuss their evaluations and determine a group rating. The evaluators decide how effectively the candidate communicates in an instructional setting. Evaluators take into consideration that newly arrived candidates may not be familiar with all the conventions of teaching and classroom specific idioms used in the various settings.

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E. General Rating Criteria (applicable to all components of the exam)

Generally, candidates receiving scores of C1, C2, and C3 are considered acceptable for a range of teaching duties; they have exhibited the following characteristics during the Appeal Exam:

Range and control of linguistic repertoire Candidates use field-specific vocabulary that promotes clear expression of concepts; use some colloquial and idiomatic terms and expressions; use expressions and terms to link concepts and highlight key points; may show some word choice variation but this does not inhibit communication of concepts; grammatical deviations, when present, are minor and not particularly distracting.

Speech production Candidates are fluent and understandable; they may have phonological variation or some variation in rhythm or rate but are intelligible; speech is clear and projected adequately.

Language use and instructional context awareness Candidates are appropriately concise or elaborate depending on context, frame or preview concept or link concept to prior knowledge, convey a coherent explanation of a concept, offer relevant examples or analogies, define terms, summarize or rephrase points, understand student perspective, provide relevant suggestions and guidance.

Interactive communication (verbal and non-verbal) Candidates' gestures, eye-contact, and body language promote intended communication; blackboard use or other visuals promote communication of concepts; candidates anticipate what might not be understood; they are attentive to communication and monitor the communication; they understand spoken English well.

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F. Specific Rating Criteria

Background Interview
Clarity, fluency and intelligibility of speech. Whether candidates are active participants in the dialogue and their ability to understand the interviewers' questions.

Teaching Segment
Clarity, fluency and intelligibility of speech. Presentation skills including voice projection, organization of the lesson, appropriate transitions, highlighting of important information, use of field specific vocabulary, use of board work or other visuals to promote communication, and ability to understand and respond to questions.

Office-Hour Role Play
Clarity, fluency and intelligibility of speech. Interactional skills, ability to understand the questions and negotiate for meaning and clarify misunderstandings.

Question Period
How fully the candidates understand questions and how appropriate their replies are.

G. Preparation for The Exam

Candidates will receive detailed instruction on how to prepare for the Appeal Exam when they register for it.

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H. Explanations of The Appeal Exam’s Final Ranking Codes

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Last updated: 12 December 2013
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