English Proficiency Requirement

Missouri State Law requires that anyone who provides classroom instruction at a public college or university demonstrate English language proficiency.  Before working at Mizzou, an English language screening is required for any prospective teaching assistant (or graduate instructor) who did not receive both primary and secondary education in English in a country for which English is the dominant language. 

Functionally, this means that a prospective TA who received any pre-college education outside of an English-speaking country must pass the MACCS test (“Mizzou’s Assessment of Classroom Communication Skills”), which is given through the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP).  The higher a student scores, the greater the variety of teaching duties he or she is eligible to perform.  Scores range from 1 (weak English language proficiency) to 4 (excellent English language proficiency).  The teaching duties that are permitted for each MACCS score are stated below, along with the TOEFL speaking score equivalent

MACCS TOEFL Speaking Score TA duties
Level 1 <24 May not be employed in any teaching role
Level 2 24-25 May be permitted to probationally teach Stat 1200 lab/discussions
Level 3 26-27 Preferred proficiency to teach Stat 1200 lab/discussions
Level 4 28 Eligible to teach sections of Stat 2500 or 3500 as primary instructor

Students admitted into the statistics graduate program with financial support and for whom a MACCS screening is required and who have a TOEFL speaking score less than 24 will be made a quarter-time (.25-FTE) stipend offer at the minimum rate and supported for one year, assuming satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree. Students admitted into the graduate program with financial support for whom a MACCS screening is required and who have a TOEFL speaking score of 24 and above will be made a half-time (.50-FTE) stipend offer at the minimum rate, assuming satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree. The stipend offer requires the graduate student to serve as an assistant for the undergraduate statistics degree program and to enroll in English language courses recommended by ITAP.

To be considered for financial support from the Statistics Department for each subsequent year beyond the first year, the student must pass the MACCS screening at the minimum level (stated below) by March 1 of the previous academic year.  For the second year, a MACCS level 2 or higher is required to be considered for support. Support in the third year requires MACCS level 3 or higher and support in the fourth or fifth years requires MACCS level 4. Upon passing the MACCS screening at a level 2 or higher, student’s will receive a half-time (.50 FTE) stipend offer at the minimum rate assuming satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree.

The requirements for TA support do not affect research assistantships (RA) since RA positions are with a particular faculty adviser. However, if a student works as an RA and later wishes to work as a TA, the eligibility schedule and requirements remain (i.e., level 2 for second year students, level 3 for third year students, etc.).  A student who has achieved level 2 and works as an RA for the third year would need to achieve level 4 to be eligible for TA support in the fourth or fifth years.

Additional English Proficiency classes are offered through the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP). If a student receives a score of less than 4 on the MACCS test, the ITAP staff will recommend classes to help improve the student’s English proficiency. For more information on the ITAP program, see the ITAP web site.  In order to be considered for support from the Department of Statistics, students must continue taking the recommended English language classes through ITAP and must re-take the MACCS test as recommended by ITAP.