Another major campaign focuses on an issue that also disproportionately affects international students. Students who come from countries where English is not the official language are required to pass a language assessment test before they can become TAs. This test is plagued with issues of transparency (the rubric they use to grade it is not available, and test-takers do not receive any feedback), and the testing environment is often crowded and noisy with no noise-cancelling headphones provided. The test also displays significant accent bias, with folks failing the test even if they have been speaking English their entire lives. We are aiming to get noise-cancelling headphones provided to all who take the test, and to increase the transparency of the test so that all who have to take it can succeed.
How can you help? You can join the committee tackling these issues, and also attend our meetings with the English Language Center. It is also important for us to be aware of the experiences of those who have taken the test; if you or someone you know has taken it and would like to give input on it, please get in touch with us!