ICTS in Education
Benefits of taking the ICTS
The ability for becoming an educator of merit depends principally, on your academic and pedagogical skills. Though, it is difficult to measure ones pedagogical abilities, but the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) does it through a battery of tests, called the Illinois Testing Certification System (ICTS). The importance of ICTS in education and the benefits of taking the test are numerous. The significance of ICTS in education has been discussed in the following sections of the test.
Advantages of taking the ICTS Examination
The ICTS examination comprises a number of tests and some of them will evaluate your academic skills, whereas others will evaluate your ability to become a successful educator. The role of ICTS in education is as follows:
Nature of the examination:
As mentioned earlier, the ICTS comprises battery of tests which are:
Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP): This test will examine your academic skills. It is so designed that it will evaluate your knowledge of subjects like, Reading Comprehension, Language Arts (grammar and writing), Mathematics and Writing.
Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) test: This test will evaluate your skills for becoming an educator of merit. The scores you receive in this test will indicate your capability in handling children/pupils.
Content-area tests: The significance of this particular test is being able to correctly evaluate your knowledge in particular subjects like, Mathematics, English, Chemistry, Computer-science etc.
Foreign language content-area tests: As the name of this test, in the ICTS battery suggests, it will evaluate your knowledge of languages like Chinese, French, German, Italian etc.
Learning Behavior Specialist II (LBS II) tests: These tests will help ICTS evaluate, whether or not you will be able to handle children (especially ones with special needs) and prove to be a good guide for them. The benefit of this test is that it will help you analyze whether or not, you can become a good teacher as well as a guidance counselor.
Language proficiency tests for an Educator License with Stipulations endorsed as Transitional Bilingual: This test will provide you with the licensure to teach in school as a bilingual, with English as the primary language.
The benefits of taking the TAP and ATP tests, is that you will be able to evaluate your academic skills properly. Moreover, the scores you receive in these two tests will help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, the content-area tests will help you understand the subjects that you should consider teaching in school. Hence, taking the tests in the ICTS battery will prove to be quite advantageous for you.
Types of questions:
The ICTS comprises primarily of multiple-choice questions. However, some tests in the battery do have essay writing. For example, the TAP test has a separate Writing section, where you will have to write a response to the prompt given. Similarly, for the ATP test you will have to write 2 separate essays. The questions for each test in the ICTS battery are so designed that they are able to evaluate your academic/pedagogical skills to the maximum. Question papers that are a combination of multiple-choice and written assignments are always beneficial to candidates. This makes the examination less monotonous and helps students evaluate their capability in answering questions, as well as, writing coherent essays.
Once you have understood the importance and nature of the ICTS, you will need to gain insight into certain other features of the examination.
Duration of the Test
The ICTS examination begins at 1:30 pm and continues till 7:15 pm. The test timing is same whether you are appearing for the CBT or PBT version of the examination. It has been found that the actual test continues for 5 hours and the rest of the time is taken up to complete administrative requirements. Moreover, the time allotment for each test in the ICTS battery is different. If you want to know more about the test duration then click on the following link: http://www.il.nesinc.com/IL17_overview.asp
Scoring the Test
You will not be able to understand the advantages of taking the ICTS, without understanding the scoring system. The ICTS reports separate 'scaled scores' for each test of the battery. The minimum score that you must achieve in order to pass the examination is 240 (the scales range being 100 to 300). You must score well above the minimum marks, if you want your application to receive due consideration.
The greatest benefit of the ICTS in education is to help candidates analyze their capability to become successful educators. If you want to become an educator of merit, you must be able to extract the maximum advantage from the ICTS test. You can do so by understanding the nature of the examination, as discussed in the first section of this article, and the utility of the different types of tests in the ICTS battery. After that understand scoring system, so that you can interpret your ICTS score card and utilize it.
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