Only the short presentation (task 2) and the prepared presentation (task 3) are scored. Test takers are expected to demonstrate competence in the following categories:
- i.e. phonemes, word and sentence stress, intonation, pauses and thought groups, linking and connected speech, etc.
- i.e. word order, word choice, oral grammar (tense, subject-verb agreement, etc.)
- i.e. transitions between sentences and ideas, cohesive devices/ logical connectors, overall organization of ideas, maintenance of organization despite spontaneous questions, etc.
- Question Handling
- i.e. ability to demonstrate understanding of questions (re-wording questions or incorporating the question into the answer) and respond appropriately to spontaneous questions while maintaining control of your presentation.
TOP Category Rating
Each category is rated on a scale from 1-4.
1 = very difficult to understand, major errors, extreme listener effort required.
2 = frequent errors leading to moments of unintelligibility, especially with high frequency words/ideas or content words/ideas pertinent to the task (key vocabulary/concepts and or ideas), listener effort required.
3 = some errors, but errors don't impede communication; key concepts and vocabulary are clearly identifiable.
4 = near-native; errors are rare and ideas/concepts/vocabulary require no listener effort.
Pronunciation is weighted more heavily than the other categories. The highest possible score is a 10, with a score of 4 in each category. A score of 3 in each category yields 7.5.
- 2.5-6.3: Non-passing - the student is NOT permitted to TA and must take the exam again
- 6.4-7.0: Marginal Pass - the student is required to take an approved ESL course either before or during the first quarter of TA work (Electrical Engineering students, see your Student Affairs Officer for more details).
- 7.1-10: Pass - the student is permited to TA with no restrictions
**Please note that if students receive a marginal pass or a passing score, they are NOT allowed to take the TOP again.
What if I don't pass?
It is highly recommended that students who have not passed or marginally passed schedule an appointment with one of the TOP coordinators to discuss their performance and (in the case of those who have not passed) receive information on how to improve their scores. For students who fail, it is strongly urged that they take an ESL Oral Skills course before re-taking the TOP.
For more general information on ESL courses at UCLA, click here
to view the website for Academic English/ESL at UCLA in the Center for World Languages. Select the "I want to satisfy my TOP requirement" link for more information and course descriptions.