What is the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS)?
The ICTS is a series of tests designed to measure the professional and subject-matter competency of a person seeking to teach in Illinois.
Who has to take the ICTS tests?
Anyone who wants to teach in Illinois must take one or more of the ICTS tests. All prospective teachers must take: 1) the ICTS Basic Skills test and 2) a level-appropriate ICTS Assessment of Professional Teaching test. Some educators, such as secondary-school teachers, also must take an ICTS Content-Area test to meet certification requirements.
What knowledge does the ICTS measure?
The ICTS exams measure the basic skills, subject-area knowledge, and professional skills of prospective teachers. The individual tests are:
What are the different Content-area tests?
There are about fifty different content-area tests. For a complete list of the content-area tests, visit the ICTS website at www.icts.nesinc.com/IL16_testselection.asp#contentArea.
How can I prepare for the ICTSs?
The ICTS provides free study guides for test takers on its website (www.icts.nesinc.com/IL_studyguide_opener.asp). Some companies also offer comprehensive study guides, tests, and flash cards for the ICTS, which focus not only on the content of the exams, but offer highly effective testing strategies, too.
When can I take the ICTS?
The ICTS is offered six months out of the year; generally, every other month starting in February. For paper-based test dates, see www.icts.nesinc.com/IL16_testdates.asp?pagetype=PBT. For computer-based test dates, see www.icts.nesinc.com/IL16_testdates.asp?pagetype=CBT.
Where can I take the ICTS?
The ICTS paper-based tests are offered in fifteen locations around Illinois. For a complete list of locations, see the ICTS website at www.icts.nesinc.com/IL16_testsites.asp?pagetype=PBT.
Computer-based ICTS tests are offered at Pearson Professional Centers. There are seven Pearson Professional Centers around Illinois, as well as more than two hundred centers throughout the United States and its territories where you can take the computer-based ICTS. Go to the Pearson website at www.pearsonvue.com/icts for current information about which test centers offer the ICTS computer-based test.
Can I take the ICTS on the computer?
Yes. Computer-based ICTS tests are offered at Pearson Professional Centers. There are seven Pearson Professional Centers around Illinois, as well as more than two hundred centers throughout the United States and its territories where you can take the computer-based ICTS. Go to the Pearson website at www.pearsonvue.com/icts for current information about which test centers offer the ICTS computer-based test.
Unfortunately, taking the ICTS on the computer is expensive. All test takers must pay a $26 processing fee when registering for the ICTS, as well as $60 per test. To take any test on the computer, you must pay an additional $84 per test. This effectively increases the cost of the ICTS computer-based tests to $144 each.
What is the cost of taking the ICTS?
The cost of registration for the paper-based ICTS is a one-time fee of $26. Then the individual ICTS tests are $60 each.
Unfortunately, taking the ICTS on the computer is expensive; you must pay an additional $84 per test to take the test on the computer. This effectively increases the cost of ICTS computer-based tests to $144 each.
How do I register for the ICTS?
You can register for the ICTS via computer or U.S. mail. Telephone registration is available for emergency registrations only. For registration instructions, go to www.icts.nesinc.com/IL16_regoptions.asp.
When will I get my ICTS scores?
Scores for ICTS tests are released about one month after the testing date.
Who will see my ICTS scores?
Your ICTS scores will be reported to you, the Illinois State Board of Education, and any school district, college, or university you indicated when you registered for the ICTS.
What if I don’t pass an ICTS test?
You may retake ICTS tests by reregistering and paying the regular testing fees for a later test date. With the exception of the Basic Skills test, which has four subtests that are scored separately, you must retake the entire ICTS test that you failed.
You can only retake an ICTS test five times in an attempt to pass it. What constitutes an attempt? Any of the following:
If you have not passed an ICTS test after five tries, you are no longer allowed to register for the test. Which effectively means you cannot obtain teacher certification in Illinois.
To retake an ICTS test, you must complete a new registration and pay to take the test again. With ICTS tests offered throughout the year at a variety of locations around Illinois, you should be able to retake most tests fairly soon after your original test date. The exception is the computer-based ICTS test; if you took any ICTS test on the computer, you must wait one hundred and twenty days before retaking the same test on the computer.
The ICTS retake policy is exceptionally strict; few states restrict the number of times you can attempt to pass a proficiency test required for teacher certification. This retake limit, combined with the cost of retaking the tests (particularly the high costs of the computer-based tests), underscores the importance of being well prepared for the ICTS the first time you take it.
What if I passed one of the ICTS tests, but not the others?
The Basic Skills test is scored as four independent subtests, and you must pass all four subtests to receiving a passing score on the entire Basic Skills test. You must register for the entire Basic Skills test each time you register, but you may elect to complete only the subtests that you need to pass. For every other ICTS test, you must retake the entire test.
You can only retake an ICTS test five times in an attempt to pass it. If you have not passed an ICTS test after five tries, you are no longer allowed to register for the test, which effectively means you cannot obtain teacher certification in Illinois.
Last Updated: 06/26/2014