Policies and Procedures on GSI Training and Testing

For LSA Departmental Contacts

GSI Testing and Training policy and procedures flow chart (PDF)

GSI Testing and Training Exemptions and Waivers (PDF)

Exemptions from GSI Testing and Training

Students are exempt from GSI Testing and ELI GSI Training if they hold an undergraduate degree from a U.S. college or university, or an undergraduate degree from a college or university where English is the exclusive medium of instruction. Rackham Graduate School provides departments with information about the undergraduate educational backgrounds of admitted students; students who are exempt from GSI Testing and/or ELI GSI Training are identified on the basis of this information, which includes students’ undergraduate institutions, whether or not they were in the U.S., and whether or not they were English‐medium. 

Occasionally, a student’s undergraduate education may have been English medium but is not listed as English‐medium in the Rackham records.  If students meet the exemption criteria (i.e., undergraduate education was at a university where English was the exclusive medium of instruction) but were mistakenly scheduled for the GSI Oral English Test or ELI 994 (LSA ELI/CRLT GSI Winter or Summer Course), they should contact their department immediately so the department can inform the ELI GSI Training Programs Coordinator, Brenda Imber (prousimb@umich.edu).

Waivers from the GSI Oral English Test

Students who do not meet the Rackham exemption criteria (i.e., exclusively English medium undergraduate education) may be waived from taking the GSI Oral English Test or from ELI 994 if they have language use experience comparable to that of students with an undergraduate education at an English‐medium university. In addition to items 1‐6 listed below, examples of such language use experience could include:

  • Employment in organizations in which English is the primary language of
    communication
  • Employment as an English interpreter or an English language teacher
  • Graduation in a field or program in which undergraduate courses were
    conducted entirely in English
  • Extended immersion in an English‐speaking environment prior to one’s
    undergraduate education

Students who believe that they should not be required to take the GSI Oral English Test should contact the hiring department who will then contact ELI GSI Training Programs Coordinator, Brenda Imber (prousimb@umich.edu). The student’s situation is reviewed individually for a possible waiver. Exact prior experiences that qualify an individual for a waiver are not stipulated because each case is unique and the combination of experiences that an individual has had using English for communicative purposes must be taken into account. 

The student should supply any documents that provide relevant information about the other experiences. For example, if a student has served as a GSI/TA at another university, information about English language testing and training at that university and information about how the student was evaluated as an instructor at that university would be relevant.

Waivers from ELI 994 (LSA ELI/CRLT GSI Winter or Summer Course)Applies only to students expected to teach in LSA departments

Students who do not meet the exemption criteria may be waived from taking ELI 994 (ELI/CRLT LSA GSI winter or summer course) if they have language use experience comparable to that of students with an undergraduate education at an English‐medium university.  Such waivers are determined on a case‐by‐case basis taking into consideration the following kinds of experiences that have proven relevant in affecting language competence. 

It should be noted that language use experience of the kind listed below does not guarantee a waiver from the LSA ELI/CRLT Winter or Summer Course or from the GSI OET. Additionally, by itself, graduate study at a U.S. institution or English medium university elsewhere is insufficient to be granted a waiver.

  1. Classroom teaching experience with undergraduates at an English‐medium university (e.g., TA at another university)
  2. GSI/TA training or test at another English‐medium university
  3. Educational experience at the undergraduate level (e.g., exchange programs at U.S. colleges or universities)
  4. Educational experience with U.S. high school students (e.g., high school/secondary school exchange programs)
  5. Other educational experience at English‐medium schools (e.g., education at U.S. or international schools)
  6. Work experience with U.S. students (e.g., college residential advisor)

Students who believe that they should not be required to take ELI 994 (LSA ELI/CRLT GSI Winter or Summer Course) because they have language use experience comparable to that of students with an undergraduate education at an English‐medium university should contact the hiring department who will then contact the ELI GSI Training Programs Coordinator, Brenda Imber (prousimb@umich.edu). The student’s situation is reviewed individually for a possible waiver.  Exact prior experiences that qualify an individual for a waiver are not stipulated because each case is unique and the combination of experiences that an individual has had using English for communicative purposes must be taken into account. The student should supply any documents that provide relevant information about the other experiences.

For example, if a student has served as a TA/GSI at another university, information about English language testing and training at that university and information about how the student was evaluated as an instructor at that university would be relevant.

Testing Prior to the Winter Course of ELI 994 (LSA ELI/CRLT GSI Winter Course)

Additionally, a prospective GSI who is nominated by an LSA department for enrollment in the winter course of ELI 994 (LSA ELI/CRLT GSI Winter Course) may request to take the GSI OET prior to the beginning of the course. Students whose communication skills are evaluated as adequate for regular GSI duties will be waived from attending the Winter Course.