Study Guide

Program and Test Information

Testing has been required of candidates seeking Illinois teaching, school service personnel, and administrative certificates since 1988. Under the direction of the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) was custom designed and developed by the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson to meet Illinois needs and requirements relating to the preparation and licensure of educators. For more information, see "About the Tests."

ILTS Test Descriptions

The ILTS includes the following categories of tests.

Test Type Test Description
Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)

The Test of Academic Proficiency is designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of fundamental skills in reading comprehension, language arts, and writing. The test is based on current and relevant expectations for teacher preparation students and for teachers in Illinois.

The TAP consists of four independently scored and passed subtests.

  • Reading Comprehension: 60 multiple-choice questions
  • Language Arts (grammar and writing): 60 multiple-choice questions
  • Mathematics: 50 multiple-choice questions
  • Writing: 1 constructed-response assignment
A passing score on each subtest is required to pass the TAP. Passing subtest scores will be banked, such that candidates will only need to complete subtests they have not yet passed.

Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) Grades
PreK–12
The APT assesses candidates on professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. The APT consists of 120 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response assignments.
Content-area tests

The content tests are designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of content in the specific teaching, school service personnel, or administrative field in which licensure is sought. The tests are based on current and relevant expectations for teacher preparation students and for teachers in Illinois as defined by the Illinois Content Area Standards for Educators.

The content tests (except for those detailed below) consist of either 100 or 125 multiple-choice questions. Please see the specific test landing pages on the ILTS website for the exact test design information for your test.

The Special Education General Curriculum Test consists of 65 multiple-choice questions.

The Principal as Instructional Leader has two subtests. Each subtest has 56 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response assignments.

The Superintendent (225) test has 80 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response assignments.

Elementary Education Subtests I–III each have 60 multiple-choice questions, and Subtest IV has 50 multiple-choice questions, for a total of 230 multiple-choice questions for all four subtests combined.

Middle Grades (5–8) tests each have 100 multiple-choice questions.

Foreign language content-area tests

The Foreign Language: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish tests each consist of 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response assignments.

The Foreign Language: Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Korean tests each consist of 7 constructed-response assignments and do not include multiple-choice questions.

Learning Behavior
Specialist II (LBS II) tests
Each LBS II test consists of 6 constructed-response assignments, including 3 stand-alone constructed-response assignments and 3 constructed-response assignments associated with a single case study.
Language proficiency tests for the Transitional Bilingual Certificate

The English Language Proficiency test and the Target Language Proficiency (TLP)—Spanish test each consist of 55 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response assignments.

The TLP tests for languages other than Spanish each consist of 4 constructed-response assignments.

The Test Development Process

Creating the ILTS is a complex, ongoing process. The major steps are outlined below.

Task Description
Develop the Test Frameworks The content of each test is documented in the test framework. The test framework consists of subareas that include a set of objectives, along with a set of descriptive statements that further elaborate the content of each test objective. During preparation of the test objectives, key state and national documents were consulted. Committees of Illinois educators reviewed the test objectives to ensure that the test objectives are accurate, free of bias, job related, and important for the job of an entry-level educator in Illinois.
Develop Test Items Next, test items are developed to assess the content defined by the test frameworks. Content specialists, item development specialists, content and bias reviewers, and psychometricians are involved in developing test items for the Illinois Licensure Testing System.
Review and Validate Test Content Content validation surveys involving randomly selected Illinois school personnel and college and university faculty members are conducted for each test. The test questions are matched to specific objectives and verified as valid by panels of Illinois educators. Items are reviewed by a Bias Review Committee (BRC) and a Content Advisory Committee (CAC). The BRC reviews test items for potential bias and inclusion of diversity. The CAC reviews and revises items, if needed, to ensure that they are accurate, appropriate, free from bias, and job-related. Items approved by the review committees are validated by Illinois teachers and teacher educators.
Field Test Items Reviewed and validated test items are field tested to determine if they have acceptable statistical and qualitative characteristics to include on operational test forms.
Set Passing Scores The committees of Illinois educators are convened again following the first test administration to reconfirm the validity of the test questions and recommend a minimum passing score for each test. The final minimum passing scores are established by the ISBE based on recommendations of panels of Illinois educators.