Last Updated 28 May 2020

Basic Skills Test

Category Lawyer, Nursing, Teacher
Words 3748 (14 pages)
Views 749

While growing up we have ideas about what we want to do with our life when we graduate from high school. These decisions include: going to college, picking a major, and figuring out where you want to go after college. I wanted to go to Western Illinois University and declare a major in the elementary education program because Western Illinois has a good teacher education program. I always wanted to become a teacher since I was a little girl, because my first grade teacher has inspired me to become a wonderful educator. One of the requirements for education majors is to take the Illinois certification test, which is the Basic Skills test.

The Basic Skills test is a certified test that is composed in variety of subjects that an educator needs to know before getting a teacher’s certificate. In order to be approved for teaching in the state of Illinois, you must pass this test. Furthermore, should the Basic Skills be considered a requirement into the education program? According to the Chicago Sun-Times, in 2010 Linda Tomlinson, Assistant Superintendent at the State Board of Education, said, “some would-be teachers have failed the current test at least 20 times”.

However, recent changes now give teaching candidates only five chances to pass (Rossi Rosalind, Chicago Sun Times). I know now that I was not the only one who did not pass the Basic Skills test the first time. Whenever I hear how important this test is from my advisor and even from other education majors around me, I get nervous. Testing is required of candidates seeking an Illinois teaching license since 1988. The only way I can continue in education next semester is to pass the test. After reading this article, I am afraid I won’t be able to major in education anymore because of lack of test-taking skills.

Order custom essay Basic Skills Test with free plagiarism report


I’m not a good test taker because of test anxiety which includes time, forgetting the information, and getting nervous before the big test. If I fail the Basic Skills test a third time, I might have to consider changing my major. I do not want to change my major, because I know I would enjoy teaching very much. If you do not pass the test after five times, you are not allowed to teach in the state of Illinois. According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2011 an unknown “reporter” said; “No, we're not rooting for aspiring educators to fail. But we are rooting to see only the best candidates become teachers” (Chicago Tribune).

As a future educator, I am opposed to this idea that college students are not becoming teachers because they are failing the Basic Skills. The statistics that updated each year from different universities are losing students who want to become future educators. Taking the Basic Skills test for future educators is harder than you think it would be; because you need to have the knowledge of a future educator when taking this type of state assessment. Most college students have to make a decision about backup plans after realizing that they didn’t pass the test.

It would be disappointment knowing that you worked hard, you are halfway through college, and now you can’t continue with your major. I think that the state board of education should rethink the testing procedures because there is more to teaching than just being able to pass the test. For example, future educators can get observed by their work of teaching, have an interview process about the literacy of teaching, and many other kinds of processes that could be established in a college setting to prepare students to become excellent educators.

The Basic Skills is one of the most important tests that future educators have seen, taken, or studied for. As a first time test-taker, our job is to research what the test is all about, what is the Basic Skills? More importantly, what is a test? Some people can say that a test is a series of questions that tests our knowledge; or a test can be defined, “as a particular process or method for trying or assessing (“Oxford English Dictionary”). ” The Basic Skills is a test where you get certification to teach in the state of Illinois.

The test considers four different sub sections reading, language arts, mathematics, and writing (Illinois Leisure Testing System). The results I’ve heard from my advisor, and researching some statistics from other Illinois school; there are many future educators who have failed the Basic Skills. Because of that, they are out of the teacher education program. The teacher education program is based on a series of tasks that are required to be pass before moving onto the next level (Jeanne Gage, Advisor). Some of the tasks to be considered are: passing major course classes in college, writing a reflective paper, and aving test taking skills. Returning to the certification process, I ask myself what is certification? Is there a certification just like the Basic Skills? Certification means “an official document attesting a certain fact, in particular” (Oxford English Dictionary). There are many different types of certification from ownership, achievement, and marriages. For the Basic Skills it’s considered an achievement certification. Teacher certification is known as “document of proof” that a teacher can use to become a teacher in a school setting. Anyone can take this test and get a teaching certification.

You may think that a certification can be easy, as it seems; but not a certification that requires testing abilities and some college classwork. Just like taking your driver’s test to get your license to drive, the teaching certification requires a series of test questions relating to a common course setting and some basic skill methods you learned in school. You may wonder if any other profession has a similar test like the educators do. Lets take a future college student who wants to become a lawyer and what kind of test that he or she would have to take.

In research, if a student wants to become a lawyer in the state of his or her choice. The student must take the Bar examination to become a certified lawyer. What is a Bar examination? The Bar examination is a rigid test of knowledge in all fields of law (Illinois State Bar Association). Just like the Basic Skills for educators, the future lawyers have to prepare in a similar fashion to future educators. The difference is the educator is tested in reading, language arts, math, and writing; while the lawyer has to know the different aspects of law that exist today.

Another example is a college student who wants to get into the nursing program. All students who want to become a nurse have to take the HESI exam in order to be certified as a nurse. What is the HESI exam? The Health Education Systems Inc. is a timed, computerized test that consists of six academic exams: reading comprehension, vocabulary and general knowledge, grammar, basic math skills, biology and anatomy, and physiology (TMCC). This test is similar to the Basic Skills, but has only two extra subjects that need to be taken.

No matter if you’re an educator, a lawyer, or a nursing major there is a test for every type of career that is required to be passed. In the beginning of my research, I have found that many future educators have not passed the Basic Skills. When I thought about how these future educators have not completed the Basic Skills; there should be an alternative process and still become an educator. What would be the opposite of a certificate? I have found no answer to this question: but, in my opinion an optional choice for certification for educators should be this.

They should be able to pass all major college courses with a B or above. If a student can be able to get all of their classes passed with this requirement, they can be able to teach after college. Why is the Basic Skills the best way to certify our future educators? Is the state board making the best choice for every future educator? The Basic Skills is the best way to certify our future educators so that each individual should be able to understand the concepts when put into a classroom full of students. Without taking this test, the future educators won’t know what is supposed to be taught when it comes to teaching.

For example, if a future educator hasn’t looked at the test, they wouldn’t be able to understand the concepts that are being tested. The state board is making the best choice to have future educators take this test; they need to know if they are the best educators. If we had poor educators, then how would our future students be able to learn their basic skills the correct way? How does the Basic Skills test accomplish its goals? According to the Oxford English Dictionary the definitions of accomplish is known “as achieve or complete successfully. Oxford English Dictionary)” The purpose of this test is to have future educators be able to accomplish the main standards in Illinois. As of October-December of 2012 only 31 percent out of 3,153 test takers have passed the Basic Skills (Illinois State Board of Education). It is a disappointment that we can’t get more than 31 percent to pass this test. In more depth, from September 2008-August 2011 at Western Illinois University 1,823 students have attempted the test; with having 1,777 students passed the test. But, at Eastern Illinois University 3,910 students have attempted; 3,773 have passed the test (Illinois State Board of Education).

Since we don’t want any future educators to fail the Basic Skills, we don’t want to bring down the teacher rate in the near future. The question that we should think about is, should we keep the Basic Skills test or have another option into getting a certification in the State of Illinois? People may wonder if this Basic Skills test has a cost. There is a fee that requires to be paid in order to take the Basic Skills. For example, the Basic Skills test costs about $120 and each different sub section costs about $99.

If one future educator has not passed any of the sub sections, they are required to repay $120. If another future educator only passed three of the sub sections, they only have to pay $99 (Illinois Leisure Testing System). I think that it’s ridiculous because we future educators can’t afford these prices, and we cannot afford to buy another examination test. With the economy being a problem in our society, how are we supposed to take a test that costs too much money? This is considered one issue about the Basic Skills and should be reconsidered for future educators.

Throughout many generations, a future educator has been through many different processes of becoming a teacher. Recently, to get into the education program, future educators have to take the Basic Skills test to be determined if they are considered an educator. My question I like to consider, how did past future educators become certify as educators? Did they have to take the Basic Skills many years ago? Did they have a whole different certification process compare to what we have today? From my research, I’ve found out many interesting facts on how future educators were certify in past.

New Jersey examinees had to take a written examination and receive a high rating in order to get certified in 1983. New Jersey educators would have to write a long essay on what they would be considered for the teaching job; skills, ability, lesson planning, etc. Other than taking the written portion they also accept the state examination that is considered the basic skills; the only difference compared to 1983 is they only had a writing portion instead of multiple assessments and know that they are willing to take the step up in the classroom management developmental process.

It’s considered as a student’s choice in New Jersey whether these future educators want to take a huge writing portion and also decide to take the Basic Skills as an optional choice. Another state that I found interesting in the same period is known as the sunny state of Florida. In this journal a debate was in progress on whether the basic skills should be determined as a minimum competency scoring level or have a more higher education and pass a type of GED test that can be require for a certification. Since testing was huge in Florida, college students had the option to become educators but they were the ones to determine their future.

This journal has been dated back in 1983 when there was a debate on whether future educators should have an option of choosing a simple exam compare to more of a challenging exam (Florida’s Minimum Competency Program: A Survey of Teacher’s Options). In this journal there are some evaluations charts that show the results of what the future educators consider as a new requirement. For example, “the Minimum Competency approach will probably result in minimum skills becoming maximum skills”; voters of education majors have marked this type of debate as 37. % agreement, 16% neither, and 46. 3% disagreement. (Florida's Minimum Competency Program: A Survey of Teachers' Opinions) The vote and other ballots have determined efficiency on how teaching requirements could be changed in 1983 (Florida Minimum Competency Program). These ratings/charts can be found on this journal if you need more information on how the voting process has worked and an explanation on each debate. California, a state providing a large portion of the nations educators, recently had a survey attempting to better understand how educators are assessed.

Most of these cases came from interviews, standardized tests, and most importantly how they contributed in a classroom setting (Teacher’s Perspective on Competency-Based Testing). With the different types of observations that were made among the future educators and their observers; the information that was given by the observer, are put into a chart to determined the typical requirements for a California teaching license. Some of the information presented in these charts are what scores each observer have, the percentage of determination, and lastly if they are qualified for the teaching certificate.

There is also more information on how the certification process and even some recommendations that can be used for future educators in 1991 (Teacher’s Perspective on Competency-Based Testing). In the state of Illinois there are requirements for a teacher certification from 1919. If you were to become an educator, you had to follow a credit system that is given to you at the beginning of your application fee. A credit system is the based amount of points that you will receive after completing each task.

Indeed, back in 1919 you were supposed to fill out an application and pay a small fee in order to begin your application into the field of education. There are also certain sub-sections that are require to be accomplished in order to receive a certification. For example, 35 points for successful teaching, 30 points for attending at the annual institute, 8 points for attending eight one-hour at the superintendent board of education meetings, and there is also many other requirements that are needed to receive the points towards a teacher certificate (Certification of Teachers in Illinois).

In my opinion, getting a teacher certification seems pretty easy when you lived back in 1919; because you only have to follow a credit system and not take any kind of assessments that is presented in Illinois today. Most importantly I wish that this could be a permanent option instead of taking the basic skills test for the state of Illinois. No matter what state you’re determined to live in, there is a certain way that there will be a certification test for any future educator.

As of today, all fifty states including the state of Illinois are required to take the Basic Skills test in order to become certified as an Illinois teacher. A question to be considered should it be easy to become a teacher? Or would many college students have to rethink of a new major before coming into college? The Basic Skills test is a required test taken by students wanting to become educators. The Basic Skills test is an examination that consists of reading, language arts, math, and writing. These future educators would have to take this examination before moving on into their method courses.

In most research, students have failed the Basic Skills test the first time they took it (JSTOR, Google, ERIC). For example, only 31 percent of all test takers have passed while the other 69 percent are still struggling in the state of Illinois (Illinois State Board of Education). There are many resources online including: Illinois Leisure Testing, Test Prep Review, and also some other University websites that can help students to prepare for the Basic Skills. I’ve used all of these websites to help me get some preparations done for the big test date and they are very helpful.

There are also preparation classes that are offered in selected universities taught by professors involved in education. Some classes includes: introduction to the Basic Skills, classes for each of the sub section of the test, and just some classes that have tutors who already passed the Basic Skills to help other students. Western Illinois University offers these classes each semester along with Eastern Illinois University, University of Illinois Champaign, and University Illinois Chicago. Recently, the Illinois state board of education allows you to take the ACT instead of the Basic Skills.

There are also preparation classes that are offered around the community and online just for the ACT. Taking down some evaluations of future educators, they say that these prep classes work because they have passed the test with the extra help. Many of these resources can help students become more familiar with the test and also have a refresher on many of the subjects that being tested in each of the examinations. Many future educators have failed the Basic Skills and have to decide what to do to not make the same mistakes.

Recently, there are many different types of online preparation including study guides, helpful hints, and a practice test to help future educators can get more practice with the test format, or even on a single sub section that he or she needs more help on. These preparation courses are huge among students who want to become educators after graduation. Many of these programs include: Pearson and Stanford Excellence. These companies have come up with completed study guides and some helpful tips when it comes to test day.

Google is also another source to look up preparation materials for the test; and it’s very helpful for those who are in danger to pass the test. Cost is considered another reason why many future educators are frustrated over the examination. Do you remember when I mentioned how much a test cost for potential new educator; it costs more than buying a week worth of groceries if you think of it. Many institutions are working on making free preparation classes for students who are in need of practice for the Basic Skills.

This semester at Western Illinois University, the education department has taken time to ask many professors to coordinate free preparation classes for students in need of math, reading, and language arts. Not only Western Illinois University has to offer these preparation classes, but many other institutions including: Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, and University of Illinois in Champaign. These universities have taken their time to offer classes that can help future educators pass the Basic Skills before moving on into the next step of the career.

Besides all of the preparation courses that are offered at institutions, I have taken some time to look at some of the other states in our country regarding about the Basic Skills. California has a policy that students can take an alternative procedure of the Basic Skills and still get into the teacher education program. This policy is considered of having an early alternative admission plan; where students can still take most of their classes and get a low score on their examination (Coping with the CBEST: Alternative and Inclusive Approaches).

Unfortunately, as of today this process has been removed from the California State Board of Education; because the State Board has decided to become familiar with a Basic Skills test just like all of the states are doing for their teacher requirements. In my opinion I wish that this process would take over the new requirements for becoming an educator; because if students would like to take classes early and remove their scores from the system. They will be able to get their teacher certification within a breeze of time. Recently in the state of Illinois, the State Board of Education has approved n alternative test arrangement for students who do not want to take the Basic Skills. Every student should know when applying for colleges during their senior year of high school, they have to take the ACT. But, educators can retake their ACT and pass it with a 22 to bypass the Basic Skills. Another option includes the SAT and educators would have to get a score of 1030. Both of these examinations are required to be less than ten years old from the test date and must include the writing portion of the examination (Illinois Administrative Rule Change).

This portion of the certification process can help students who had a hard time with the Basic Skills and be able to take the examinations for less than half the cost of the Basic Skills. The Basic Skills test is a require examination that students have to take before they are educators. In this essay alone, I have found many interesting facts regarding to the Basic Skills within the state of Illinois and even a few other states. Including some of the history, facts, and solutions about this examination.

I also hope that this work will help not only myself, but for future educators that are willing to go into the teacher education program. The only way to be able to succeed in the teacher education program is to be able to prepare future educators with this examination. Especially with the solutions I provided in this essay, it should be very helpful to many college students not only around the state of Illinois; but the other 49 states that are involved in this process. The Basic Skills is a required examination, and it’s one of the most important steps in the teaching career.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses

Starting from 3 hours delivery 450+ experts on 30 subjects
get essay help 124  experts online

Did you know that we have over 70,000 essays on 3,000 topics in our database?

Cite this page

Explore how the human body functions as one unit in harmony in order to life

Basic Skills Test. (2017, May 28). Retrieved from

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer