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Basic Skills Test Replaced with the ICTS Test of Academic Proficiency

Everyone entering a teacher-certification program in Illinois must take the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP), a computer-based test from the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS).The TAP covers the same material as the former Illinois Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) with the addition of questions on probability in the mathematics section. If you don’t pass the test before applying to teacher candidacy, you may be provisionally accepted into the professional education class sequence. However, to continue in the certification program you must present a passing score on the test before the end of the first semester.

The TAP consists of the following subtests:

  • ICTS TAP: Reading Comprehension (401)
  • ICTS TAP: Language Arts (402)
  • ICTS TAP: Mathematics (403)
  • ICTS TAP: Writing (404)

The TAP is the new test of basic skills.
The Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) tests are the ICTS pedagogy tests. The ICTS TAP and the ICTS APT are separate examinations with different test codes and different subject matter. The APT tests are NOT available as computer-based examinations. In order to take any of the APT tests you will need to register for a paper-based examination. It is the individual's responsibility to take the appropriate test(s). If you have questions about which test(s) you are required to take, contact your college advisor, your licensure officer, or the regional office of education through which you are applying for licensure.

How do my ACT/SAT scores apply to the TAP?
Emergency rules have been filed (effective July 24, 2012) which allow applicants seeking an Illinois provisional certificate/license to submit official ACT/SAT score reports in lieu of a passing score on the TAP. Please note the following requirements:

  1. Composite ACT Plus Writing score of at least 22; or a composite (mathematics and critical reading) SAT score of 1030. Note that the writing subtest must have been taken for each test; however, ISBE will not include the writing score in the composite score requirement for either test.
  2. The applicant cannot have failed the TAP five times.
  3. The official score report cannot be more than five years old at the time of this application and submission to ISBE.

Applicants who wish to use an ACT or SAT official score report must:

  1. Complete and submit ISBE form 73-54 to the Illinois State Board of Education, Division of Educator Certification, 100 North First Street, S-306, Springfield, IL 62777.
  2. Request that ACT or SAT send an official score report to the Illinois State Board of Education, Division of Educator Certification, 100 North First Street, S-306, Springfield, IL 62777.

More info


How do I register to take the TAP?

You can register for the TAP on the ICTS website:  www.icts.nesinc.com

How much does the TAP cost?
Examinees taking the TAP can register for all four subtests in one test session or for each subtest independently. The total fee for registering for all four subtests is $125, and the total fee for registering for one subtest is $75.

Examinees will not be required to complete subtests they have already passed. If you take one subtest in a single subtest session that single subtest session counts toward the five-time total test attempt limit. You will not have five attempts for each subtest if you register for separate subtest sessions.


What TAP Study Materials Are Available?
The ICTS site offers a Study Guide to download. The guide is useful for seeing the type of questions asked and the standards being tested, but most candidates need additional review in at least one or two areas of the test.

There is an electronic system of preparation for the Basic Skills test that has been set up by the Illinois Community College Board (www.basicskillsprep.org). Columbia is a registered institution for this site. To get the institutional passcode for this site, please contact Sheila Brady.

If you use Basic Skills preparation materials, keep in mind that there is an additional set of questions on probability in the TAP not included in the Basic Skills test. The Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org) and the Math Forum (http://www.mathforum.org) are good sites to review probability and math in general.

You can also access an excellent online course and practice tests for the TAP designed by Longsdale Publishing. This is a special service to which the department has subscribed for a year. The web site is http://www.longsdalepub.com/icts/. You will need the Columbia school number and school key to use the program. To get the school number and key, contact the department's certification officer, Sheila Brady.

Listed below are some additional websites that may be useful in your test preparation:


Other practice tests:

Other helpful resources:

If you have further questions about the TAP, feel free to get in touch with Larissa Mulholland, ECE Director; or Sheila Brady, Certification officer.