Program Overview

Testing has been required of candidates seeking Illinois teaching, school service personnel, and administrative licenses since 1988. Legislation enacted at that time, Section 21B-30 of the School Code of Illinois, established a testing program as part of the state's licensure requirements. Subsequent legislation and the adoption of administrative rules by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provided additional requirements and information regarding the specific tests required of licensure candidates, as well as when the tests must be taken and who must take the tests.

Under the direction of ISBE, 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.

The ILTS tests are criterion referenced and objective based. A criterion-referenced test is designed to measure a candidate's knowledge and skills in relation to an established standard rather than in relation to the performance of other candidates. The explicit purpose of these tests is to help identify, for licensure purposes, candidates who have demonstrated the level of knowledge required to perform satisfactorily in their fields of specialization. While candidates receive performance feedback on their ILTS score reports, they do not receive specific information about the items they answered incorrectly. The language proficiency tests assess knowledge of the language needed by a bilingual teacher to communicate effectively in everyday school settings.

All the test objectives and standards developed for the ILTS were reviewed by committees of Illinois educators for relevance to the field of teaching and alignment with state and national standards. A content validation survey was then conducted in each field using practicing Illinois educators and higher education faculty, who were selected by random sample. Each survey participant reviewed the objectives/standards in his or her field to ensure that only objectives/standards that are important to the job and that are used in Illinois classrooms were selected for testing. Test questions matched to each objective/standard were developed on the basis of textbooks, Illinois curriculum guides, and professional preparation and licensure standards. These questions were developed in consultation with committees of Illinois educators, higher education faculty, and other content specialists. Test questions are field-tested and then continually reviewed to ensure content is current and accurate. All tests within the ILTS periodically undergo a comprehensive review to ensure that the tests accurately reflect the minimum content knowledge and basic skills required of the Illinois public school educator. Copies of the test objectives/standards for all test fields are available by selecting "Test Frameworks" on the ILTS website.

Description of the Tests

The ILTS includes the following categories of tests. See "Test Selection" for a complete list of tests. Once there, you can access specific information about each test.

Test Type
Test Description
Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) 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.

If an examinee has previously passed one or more Basic Skills (300) subtests, the passing score(s) will count toward the passing of the TAP. See "FAQs: For Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) Examinees" for more information about the phasing in of the TAP.
Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) 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 Each content-area test (except the Principal as Instructional Leader test, Special Education General Curriculum Test, and foreign language content-area tests, see below) consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. The Principal as Instructional Leader test consists of two subtests; each subtest consists of 56 multiple-choice questions and two constructed-response assignments. The Special Education General Curriculum Test consists of 65 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 an Educator License with Stipulations endorsed as Transitional Bilingual The English Language Proficiency (ELP) 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.

All ILTS tests may include non-scorable questions that will not count toward candidates' scores. These questions are placed on the test to collect information about how well they perform under actual testing conditions for possible future inclusion on an ILTS test.