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

The Illinois Licensure Testing System has three components:

  1. The Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) 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.
  2. Content-Area 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 licensure candidates must pass the relevant content-area test prior to issuance of the licensure.
  3. The edTPA is a nationally available assessment of teacher candidates’ readiness to teach. The assessment focuses on the impact the teacher has on student engagement and learning. edTPA complements existing entry-level assessments used by states that focus on basic skills or subject matter knowledge and campus-based evaluations of clinical practice, coursework, grades and curriculum-embedded assessments of candidate performance. Currently 33 states and the District of Columbia are in various stages of implementing the edTPA as an assessment of candidate performance.

The Illinois State Board of Education licensure website provides comprehensive information about the licensure 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 licensure prepare for the tests. Because of the importance of these licensure tests, candidates are strongly urged to talk with their advisors about test preparation options, scheduling, and other testing matters.