Carnegie Mellon University

Overview of the ITA Test

An exam that assesses a candidate's ability to communicate with learners/ people outside their field. The test consists of two parts (both will be recorded):
  1. A conversational interview on various academic topics.
  2. A more formal explanation (roughly 5 minutes) of a topic from the candidate's field (topics are not chosen in advance). The team of raters will ask questions to clarify misunderstandings and to elicit additional aspects of academic fluency.

Language Skills Assessed

  • pronunciation
  • grammar
  • the fluency to explain and define academic terms and concepts
  • the ability to understand and respond clearly to questions.

Teaching skills and knowledge of the field are NOT assessed.


ITA test candidates receive one of four scores.

Feedback and Results

Test-takers meet with an ICC instructor to learn their score, review strengths and weakness, and get advice about additional language training. While the final test score is based solely on language skills, feedback on presentation skills and cultural understanding is also included, but is not part of the final score. Both students and their departments receive copies of the final written evaluations.