CIP's English language certification for university lecturers

Get the full overview and learn more about TOEPAS (Test of Oral English Proficiency for Academic Staff):

Locally-developed oral English certification

In 2009, Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP) designed TOEPAS (Test of Oral English Proficiency for Academic Staff), which is an oral English proficiency certification procedure specially designed for the English language uses of university lecturers in English-medium instruction (EMI) courses and programs.

More than 400 lecturers at the University of Copenhagen and around 100 lecturers at other universities have been assessed with TOEPAS so far. In 2015, CIP opened a test center at the University of Nantes, where lecturers from a consortium of six universities are certified.

The purpose of TOEPAS is two-fold. On the one hand, it was designed to identify the lecturers who may need language support to teach EMI courses. On the other, TOEPAS raises lecturers’ awareness about their own English language strengths and weaknesses through an extensive written and oral formative feedback report accompanied by a video recording of their own performance.

What happens during the certification session?

During each certification session, three lecturers are assessed. First, the lecturers engage in a brief warm-up discussion about their professional backgrounds and interests. Following this discussion, lecturers take turns to deliver a 20 minute mini-lecture related to the type of courses they usually teach. The mini-lecture should be planned in advance, and visual aids (e.g. white board, PowerPoint) may be used during the mini-lecture. Following the mini-lecture, the lecturer is asked to answer questions from the other two lecturers who take the role of students  

The session lasts approximately two and a half hours. The session is video-recorded for feedback and assessment purposes, and the recorded videos are immediately stored on a secure server.

The certification takes place at the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use, at The Faculty of Humanities, on the south campus on Amager. If other universities request TOEPAS for certification of their lecturers, TOEPAS raters and an administrator can administer the test at the requesting university. The requesting university is required to provide a testing venue that meets our specifications. The raters are researchers and academic language consultants that specialise in second language acquisition and English for academic purposes.

What happens after the certification session?

  • The lecturers receive their TOEPAS scores on a 6-point scale (10-60). The scale contains general descriptors for each level on the scale.
    View the assessment scale (pdf)
  • In addition to the score, the lecturers receive detailed written and oral formative feedback with comments on the lecturer’s English language strengths and weaknesses.
  • The lecturer also receives a link to a video recording of the certification their own performance.
  • If the lecturer is certified (TOEPAS score of 30 or above), the lecturer receives a certificate.

How much does TOEPAS cost?

Contact CIP to hear more about the price of a TOEPAS certification at the University of Copenhagen.

Do you want to use the TOEPAS for certifying the lecturers at your university?

If you are interested in establishing a TOEPAS test center at your university or if you would like CIP to administer the TOEPAS to the lecturers at your university, please contact us at to learn more about the certification procedure and the possibilities for an agreement for your institution.

At the moment we collaborate with Roskilde University and University College Absalon. CIP administers the TOEPAS certification at the collaborating institution.