Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Checklist: Common Types of TA Responsibilities

Lead recitation sections

  • review main points/difficult parts of lectures
  • discuss examples in detail
  • respond to questions about homework
  • may create and give quizzes
  • often grade, hold office hours and conduct review sessions
  • attend TA/staff meetings to coordinate activities across sections

Lead discussion sections

  • discuss key course concepts based on assigned reading, writing or in-class exercises
  • guide students on writing assignments
  • may create and give quizzes or homework
  • typically grade and hold office hours
  • attend TA/staff meetings to coordinate activities across sections

Assist in laboratories

  • monitor ongoing student work in technical courses
  • respond to questions about experiments, methods, equipment and software
  • ensure student safety
  • may give brief pre-lab lectures
  • often grade lab reports

Assist in studios

  • monitor ongoing student work in fine arts courses
  • respond to questions about projects, exercises, techniques or software
  • assist with desk critiques or other face-to-face feedback
  • may create assignments


  • follow criteria provided by the professor
  • often create grading keys for homework
  • may collaborate on creating grading criteria for exams, papers, computer programs and projects
  • provide constructive comments on individual students' work
  • prepare detailed solution sets for homework
  • may assist students in office hours, review sessions or computer clusters

Supervise group projects

  • meet with project groups in or out of class
  • guide students' choices of approaches
  • assist in providing feedback on intermediate stages of the project
  • provide information on useful resources
  • may be involved in grading final projects

Hold office hours

  • be available regularly and by appointment to answer students' questions about course material
  • contact students who are having significant difficulties to offer assistance
  • may provide tutoring for students whose backgrounds are weak in key areas

Conduct review sessions

  • summarize major concepts
  • answer students' questions as regular review or prior to an exam
  • may prepare a written review sheet for exams or present a summary of the most important points
  • provide students with supervised practice answering exam-like questions
Source: Freeland, R. (1998). Collected Wisdom: Strategies & Resources for TAs. Pittsburgh, PA: Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon.