Test of Academic Proficiency
Testing has been required of candidates seeking Illinois teaching, school service personnel, and administrative licenses since 1988. Legislation enacted at that time, Section 21-1a 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. 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 teacher educators, 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 teacher education and licensure standards. These questions were developed in consultation with committees of Illinois educators, teacher educators, 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 navigating to "Test Frameworks" on the ILTS Web site.