Test of Academic Proficiency

Illinois Certification Testing System Test of Academic Proficiency: Important Information and Resources

The Test of Academic Proficiency (formerly the Basic Skills Test) is a state-wide requirement for admission to Teacher Education.  It is strongly recommended that candidates take measures to prepare for the test in order to maximize their potential for success. Given the high stakes nature of this test and other required certification tests, we urge you to be prepared.  Sitting repeatedly for a test will also require paying to take the tests multiple times, which will be costly. The Illinois State Board of Education will also accept ACT Plus Writing with a passing score of 22 in place of TAP.

Test of Academic Proficiency Reviews

The Aurora University School of Education holds a series of workshops prior to the Illinois State Board of Education's Test of Academic Proficiency. These workshops are designed to help students prepare for the tests. Education students and social work students who plan to work in the public school system are required to pass this five-hour test as the first step toward certification.

Students who have gone through these sessions have found them to be accurate and helpful. The review workshops are open to registered AU students, current applicants and alumni at no charge. The sessions are also open to people outside the AU community for a $200 fee payable at the first session attended.

To sign-up for the review sessions, please contact Pennie Gaither at 630-844-3858 or pgaither@aurora.edu.

If you are planning to register for upcoming test and have not yet registered through the Illinois Licensure Testing System, please visit their website at www.il.nesinc.com for test registration and other pertinent information.

Important Considerations

Effective January 2010, there is a limit on the number of times that an individual can take the Test of Academic Proficiency.  No individual will be allowed to take the Test of Academic Proficiency more than five times.  For this reason, individuals not passing the test should not repeat the test without taking measures to remediate their areas of weakness.

Effective September 2010, the State of Illinois increased the minimum passing scores required on the Test of Academic Proficiency.  In order to pass the Test of Academic Proficiency individuals must achieve passing scores on the three multiple choice sub-tests (Reading Comprehension, Language Arts and Mathematics) and achieve a passing score on the Writing sub-test (Writing Sample). 

Individuals who took the Test of Academic Proficiency on or after September 2010 and were successful on one or more of the sub-tests will only need to retake the sub-tests on which they were unsuccessful.

First-time TAP takers

  • The Illinois State Board of Education will also accept ACT Plus Writing with a passing score of 22 in place of TAP.
  • Consult with your program advisor or School of Education faculty about academic skills and how you should review for the test.
  • Visit the Illinois Certification Testing System website to review the Test of Academic Proficiency Framework and the Test of Academic Proficiency Diagnostic Practice Test. An optional TAP practice test and TAP Expanded Study Guide also are available for purchase.
  • Use the ICTS Online Course and Practice Tests from Longdale Publishers for preparation. Plan on spending 3-12 hours for the complete program, depending on your strengths and weaknesses. Contact Pennie Gaither, pgaither@aurora.edu or 630-844-3858, to obtain an access code.
  • Attend Aurora Unviersity's Test of Academic Proficiency Review Sessions. Contact Pennie Gaither, pgaither@aurora.edu or 630-844-3858, for dates, times and locations.
  • Register for the test at http://www.icts.nesinc.com. Be sure to have your scores sent to AU.
  • Official scores for all sections of the test will be reported within a month to you and Aurora University.

If you need a second attempt to pass any or all sections

If you have taken the test at least twice, but have not passed all sections

  • You must wait at least 60 days from the most recent test date to make a subsequent attempt.
  • You may want to consider taking only one portion of the test during the next sitting to focus your efforts on that skill/content area. You are allowed to take five attempts total, regardless of whether you take a portion of the test or the whole test.
  • Seek additional help from the Aurora University Center for Teaching and Learning.

If you are on one of your last two attempts at passing the test

  • Please remember that you are permitted five attempts total. You will not be allowed to take the test again and will not be permitted to enroll in a teacher certification program anywhere in the state of Illinois if you do not pass all portions of the test by the last attempt.
  • You may want to consider enrolling in content-specific courses at your area community college for an entire semester before registering to retake the test.
Adapted from Eastern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University