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Illinois TAP Test Pass Rate

Instructor: Bill Sands
Very few candidates who take the Test of Academic Proficiency manage to pass the exam. Read on for more information on the success rate for this assessment, available study resources and alternatives for taking this exam.

Illinois TAP Cumulative Pass Rate

Candidates sitting for the Test of Academic Proficiency face long odds when it comes to successfully passing the exam. According to the most recent data from the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS), a mere 24% of candidates passed all four of the exam's subtests between October and December of 2016. That's only about 215 of the 897 examinees sitting for the test during this 3-month period.

Pass Rates for Individual Subtests

The same ILTS report shows slightly higher pass rates for individual subtests. Examinees were most successful on the writing portion, while the math subtests proved to be the most difficult. Pass rates for individual subtests break down as follows:

  • Writing: 85%
  • Reading Comprehension: 42%
  • Language Arts: 38%
  • Mathematics: 31%

Difficulty of the TAP

While there is no one clear reason for the low pass rate of this exam, one cause seems to stem from the wide range of knowledge required to pass the TAP. Candidates will need to be proficient in each of the four subjects covered by the subtests, whereas other ILTS exams tend to focus on a single subject in a prospective teacher's area of expertise. In fact, some schools report astonishingly high pass rates of between 80% and 100% for education students who take one of these content area exams.

Retake Policy

Fortunately for those who do not pass the TAP exam, ILTS does allow retakes. However, you will need to wait 30 days before registering for your next attempt.

While the existence of a retake policy is encouraging, keep in mind that retakes are not free, and repeated testing will become costly. You also will not be able to begin your teacher education program or start your career until you pass the test.

TAP Test Exemptions

If the low TAP pass rates or the possibility of having to sit for a retake is making you nervous about your career prospects, you might be relieved to learn that acceptable SAT or ACT scores can be used to meet the state's basic skills requirement in lieu of the TAP. Minimum passing scores are outlined below:

Current Format Old Format
ACT 22 composite score; writing score of 6 22 composite score; writing score of 16 or 19 on the English/writing portion
SAT 1110 composite score; writing and language score of 26 1030 composite score; writing score of 450

Basic Skills Study Resources

One way to improve your chances of passing the TAP, whether it's your first or fourth time taking the test, is to devote a large amount of time to studying. Study.com publishes an Illinois TAP - Test of Academic Proficiency: Practice & Study Guide that includes more than 170 video lessons on crucial test topics as well as self-checking quizzes you can use to shore up any weaknesses. This course is also self-paced, which means you can spend as much or as little time as you need addressing each area of the test.

If you're considering taking another standardized test instead, there are also these comprehensive ACT and SAT prep courses.

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