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Performance Evaluation FAQs

 
What is a Performance Evaluation (PE)?
The ITAP Performance Evaluation (PE) is a 10 minute mini-teaching demonstration on a topic that is basic to the ITA’s field, and something that their department would expect any new ITA to be able to explain to an undergraduate student or someone who is unfamiliar with the field.
 
During the PE there are two evaluators. Both evaluators will observe and rate language production skills, as well as act as “students” and rate presentation and interaction skills. As "students" the evaluators will take notes, ask questions, and interact with the ITA as if they were in an actual classroom situation.
 
The presentations are also video-recorded for ITAP certification records and consultation needs. The ITA may also request a copy of the PE for their own review.
 
What is the Performance Evaluation (PE) process?
  • When booking an appointment, the ITA will indicate threepossible PE topics that are basic to the ITA’s field(see What are Acceptable PE Topics?). ITAP will choose oneof those topics for the ITA to present, and  send it to the ITA 24 hours before the scheduled appointment time, along with instructions for preparing for the PE.
  • On the day of the PE, the ITA will check-in 5 minutes before their scheduled time at Behavior Sciences Building (BSB) 237. (ITAP is located on the second floor, near the central staircase.)
  • Two evaluators will be present to videotape and rate the presentation;Both evaluators will observe and rate language production skills, as well as act as “students” and rate presentation and interaction skills. As "students" the evaluators will take notes, ask questions, and interact with the ITA as if they were in an actual classroom situation.
  • The ITA will be given 10 minutes to give their presentation.
  • At the end of the presentation, the evaluators may ask an additional question or two for clarification.
  • The ITA will then present a quiz question to be answered by the evaluators. The ITA will explain and discuss the answer with them in order to simulate an interaction that might take place during the ITA’s office hours or classroom.
  • Results for the PE are sent to the ITA via email. The ITA’s department is also sent a letter stating the ITA’s Oral English Proficiency Certification status and TA teaching recommendations.
 
How do I prepare for the PE?
The ITA must prepare the following:
  • A 10 minute presentation on oneof threetopic choices that is sent to the ITA 24hours before the scheduled appointment time. The presentation should be prepared as if the ITA were going to present the information to an undergraduate student or someone who is unfamiliar with the field.
  • Prepare a handout that will help students better understand the material. Bring 2copies to the presentation:
    • It should be in outline form. Do not include too much information.
    • It can include pictures, formulas, charts, or graphs that will help understanding.
    • It should leave enough room so students can take notes.

 

  • One quiz question that checks the evaluators' understanding of some aspect of the material presented. The quiz question should require a little thinking on the part of the “student.” For example, an appropriate quiz question might be: Name the steps in the process presented, and specificy your understanding of the purpose/function of each step.
 Suggestions/Tips:
 
  • Make an outline of the material that you intend to present. Keep in mind that the presentation is only 10 minutes. Do not try to cover an entire topic in 10 minutes.
  • Make notes or highlight key words, and practice the pronunciation with a native speaker.
  • Be prepared to give clear examples or analogies in order to illustrate the concepts.
  • Prepare more than one quiz question ahead of time, so you can choose the one that is most appropriate to ask at the end of the presentation. Be sure to check for grammar and spelling.
  • Think about what you will put on the board and how you will organize the board visually, so that it is easy for the student to understand.
  • Think of questions that the student might ask you during the presentation, so that you are prepared to answer them.
  • Practice giving your presentation out loud a few times.

 

What NOT to do:
 
  • Power Point presentations are not accepted. We want to evaluate your language and presentation skills, as well as your interaction skills.
  • Do not write out your presentation word for word or plan to read it from a piece of paper. The PE is designed to assess your language and presentation skills, as well as your interaction skills.
  • Do not try to cover too much information. Technical terms and essential background information should not be the focus of the presentation. Remember it is only 10 minutes long, and meant to be presented to students at an introductory level, not to professors or colleagues.

 

Who is eligible to take a PE?

Students with a TOEFL iBT Speaking score of 24-25/Listening score of 22-23 or IELTS Speaking score of 7.0-7.5/Listening score of 6.5 and who the ITA Program feels that their overall communication skills may be strong enough to fulfill TA responsibilities are eligible to take a PE. (See Oral English Proficiency Certification Process)

 

How do I arrange to take the PE?

Once it has been determined that the student is eligible for a Performance Evaluation (see Oral English Proficiency Certification Process), book an appointment at: uicitaprogram.youcanbook.meIndicate 3 possible topics to present (see What are Acceptable PE Topics?). After an appointment has been made, the student will be emailed instructions for preparing the PE and one topic 24 hours before the scheduled appointment time. All PEs will take place in BSB 235.

 
Is there a charge for the PE?

There is no charge to the student for the Performance Evaluation if it is done for the purpose of the Oral English Proficiency Certification in order to receive or retain a Teaching Assistantship.

 
How long does it take to get the results of a PE?
The pre-semester results will be emailed to the ITA and the ITA’s department generally within 48 hours. When PEs are done in the middle of the semester and the ITA Program staff is also teaching classes, it may take longer for the results to be sent. End of semester results will be sent out during finals week.
 
Does everyone need to take a PE?

Only students who are eligible to take the PE (See Oral English Proficiency Certification Process) must take it. If you are required to take ESL 401, and complete one semester of the course, you will take a PE at the end of the semester.

 
How is the PE scored?
The PE is scored according to the following 10 elements. Each element is scored as a 40, 50, or 60. The total score is then added and averaged, so the final score will fall between 40 and 60.
 
  1. Pronunciation (vowel/consonant production, word stress, thought groups)
  2. Grammar/Vocabulary (basic sentence structure, verb tense consistency, subject/verb agreement, sufficient amount of working vocabulary)
  3. Delivery (volume, pace/pausing, time management)
  4. Non-Verbal Presentation Skills (eye contact, visual support, comfort/confidence)
  5. Verbal Presentation Skills (use of transistions, use of examples/analogies)
  6. Interactive Competence (fielding of Questions, checking for comprehension)
  7. Interactive Competence (handling of miscommunication, use of repair strategies
  8. Interactive Competence (well-formed quiz question, allowing wait time for students to answer, clear explanation of information)
  9. Interactive Competence (use of key word timing/prominence to communicate meaning)
  10. Interactive Competence (tone choice/intonation: variation of tone choices)
 
Do I receive my score?
Results for the PE are sent to the ITA via email. The ITA’s department is also sent a letter stating the ITA’s Oral English Proficiency Certification status and TA teaching recommendations.
 
The pre-semester results will be emailed to the ITA and the ITA’s department generally within 48 hours. When PEs are done in the middle of the semester when the ITA Program staff is also teaching classes, it may take longer for the results to be sent.
 
Can I use this PE score at other institutions?
The UIC PE score is not transferable to other institutions. However, if the ITA receives Oral English Proficiency Certification, the certification letter received by the ITA’s department may be used as verification of Oral English Proficiency at other institutions, if the other institution accepts the verification. The ITA should check with their department and the other institution about their policies regarding Oral English Proficiency Certification.
 
What does my score mean?
  • A score of 40-45 means that the ITA cannot be fully certified, and is only recommended for a conditional TA status with minimal student contact such as tutoring, grading, or office hours. Student must also enroll in ESL 401 (Communication and Teaching Strategies for International Teaching Assitants) for one to two semesters, concurrent with TA assignment.  Skills such as volume, pace, and pausing regularly obscure meaning, and skills such as vowel and consonant production, word stress, and intonation require significant listener effort. Elements of language use such as basic sentence structure, verb tense consistency, and working vocabulary do not allow for a continuous understanding of ideas. There are also gaps in listening comprehension and a lack of appropriate responses. In addition, presentation skills such as outlining, support of key terms, transitions, fielding questions, and miscommunication handling are not demonstrated at an effective level.
  • A score of 45-50 means that the ITA cannot be fully certified, and is recommended for a conditional TA status, but is allowed TA responsibilities such as conducting a lab, giving a lecture, or leading a discussion session, in addition to tutoring, grading, and office hours.Student must also enroll in ESL 401 (Communication and Teaching Strategies for International Teaching Assitants) for one to two semesters, concurrent with TA assignment.  Skills such as volume pace, and pausing require some listener effort, and skills such as vowel and consonant production, word stress, and intonation somewhat interfere with comprehension. Elements of language use such as basic sentence structure, verb tense consistency, and working vocabulary allow for some continuous understanding of ideas, but ideas are not expressed clearly and succinctly. There are some gaps in listening comprehension and some lack of appropriate responses. In addition, presentation skills such as outlining, support of key terms, transitions, fielding questions, and miscommunication handling are demonstrated at a somewhat effective level.
  • A score of 50 means that the ITA can be granted full Oral English Proficiency and can be fully certified.  Skills such as volume pace, and pausing require little listener effort, and skills such as vowel and consonant production, word stress, and intonation do not interfere with comprehension. Elements of language use such as basic sentence structure, verb tense consistency, and working vocabulary allow for continuous understanding of ideas, and ideas are expressed relatively clearly and effectively. There are few to no gaps in listening comprehension and responses are generally appropriate. In addition, presentation skills such as outlining, support of key terms, transitions, fielding questions, and miscommunication handling are demonstrated at a sufficiently effective level.
  • A score of 60 means that the ITA can be granted full Oral English Proficiency and can be fully certified.  Skills such as volume, pace, and pausing require no listener effort, and skills such as vowel and consonant production, word stress, and intonation allow for easy comprehension. Elements of language use such as basic sentence structure, verb tense consistency, and working vocabulary allow for easy understanding of ideas, and ideas are not expressed clearly and succinctly. There are no gaps in listening comprehension and responses are consistently appropriate. In addition, presentation skills such as outlining, support of key terms, transitions, fielding questions, and miscommunication handling are demonstrated at a very effective level.
 
How often can I take a PE?
The PE can only be taken up to two times a semester. ITAP only schedules PEs during the first week of the semester and the last two weeks of the semester. If an ITA arrives at any time mid-semester, and is eligible for a PE, they must wait until the end of that semester to take the PE.