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Demonstrating oral English proficiency at Northwestern through the SPEAK Test

SPEAK Testing Policies and Procedures

The Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) allows students to demonstrate their spoken English proficiency toward fulfillment of The Graduate School's English proficiency requirement . It is intended for students who have had persistent difficulty passing the Versant test, or whose funding is at risk due to not having fulfilled TGS’s English proficiency requirement.

The SPEAK test is produced by the Educational Testing Service, but it is administered locally by universities like Northwestern. SPEAK scores are only reportable at the university at which the test is taken; they may not be transferred or reported to any other institution.  Students are allowed to take a maximum of 6 SPEAK tests during their time at Northwestern (there are only 6 different versions of the exam).

SPEAK tests are only available by request from a departmental representative; students may not request the test for themselves.  Departments will receive an email soliciting SPEAK test requests several weeks before each test date.  Test requests must be approved by The Graduate School in consultation with the English Language Programs. SPEAK test requests should be sent to Dr. Erin Leddon, Associate Director of English Language Programs. 

See the 2017-2018 testing dates below. Once a test has been administered, in most cases, it will take several weeks for scores to be reported.

SPEAK Test Dates for 2017-18

Testing outcomes for SPEAK

SPEAK Test Preparation

For self-study, students may wish to purchase one of the following two textbooks:

English Language Programs offers a section of Linguistics 380 in the Spring called Speech Acts and the SPEAK test which serves as excellent preparation for this test. Students may also find it helpful to attend the English Language Learners program tutoring office hours, or to reserve a weekly tutoring appointment, so that a tutor can walk a student through the exam and give feedback on the student's performance.

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