Certification Testing

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State law requires that all in-state candidates for certification successfully pass designated
tests of the candidates'knowledge and skills in relation to the Illinois educator standards.


The Illinois Certification Testing System has three components.

  • Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) - This test evaluates the candidate's basic skills in reading, mathematics, and writing. All candidates are required to pass this test prior to admission to a teacher preparation program.
  • Content-Area Tests - These tests address the content knowledge required for each subject area or field. Examples include mathematics, elementary education, and principal/general administration. For teacher candidates, passage of the test is required prior to student teaching. All certification candidates must pass the relevant content-area test prior to issuance of the certificate.
  • Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) - These tests assess teacher certification candidates on the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the English Language and Technology standards for all teachers. The tests are required of all candidates for initial certification and for any subsequent certificates that cover a different grade or age range. All teacher certification candidates must pass the relevant content-area test prior to completion of the certification program.

The State Board of Education certification web pages provide comprehensive information about the certification testing system, test dates and locations, procedures, and costs. That website also links candidates to study guides and other materials to help prepare for the state tests.

NIU provides several programs to help candidates for certification prepare for the tests. Because of the importance of these certification tests, candidates are strongly urged to talk with their advisors about test preparation options, scheduling, and other testing matters.