Preparing for the TAP (Test of Academic Proficiency)

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EDN100

       Course Name: Preparing for the TAP (Test of Academic Proficiency)

       Credits: 1-2 (1-2 Lecture; 1-2 Lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course is designed to prepare prospective teachers to take and pass the TAP (Test of Academic Proficiency) by refreshing and/or improving skills and abilities in Reading, Language Arts, Writing and Mathematics. Students must have basic computer skills. The length of course will vary as it may be possible for students to “competency out” before the end of the semester.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Acquire skills and abilities required to take and successfully pass the TAP (Test of Academic Proficiency).
  2. Be exposed to and have a general understanding of the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IPTS), and the subsequent role of the IPTS in teacher education courses and programs, particularly with regards to IPTS Standards 6 and 7. The competent teacher must have a strong understanding of Reading, Language Arts, Writing and Mathematics such that they are able to meet the following standards.

Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IPTS - 2013)

Standard 1: Teaching Diverse Students

The competent teacher understands the diverse characteristics and abilities of each student and how individuals develop and learn within the context of their social, economic, cultural, linguistic, and academic experiences. The teacher uses these experiences to create instructional opportunities that maximize student learning.

Standard 2: Content Area & Pedagogical Knowledge

The competent teacher has in-depth understanding of content area knowledge that includes central concepts, methods of inquiry, structures of the disciplines, and content area literacy. The teacher creates meaningful learning experiences for each student based upon interactions among content area and pedagogical knowledge and evidence-based practice.

Standard 3: Planning for Differentiated Instruction

The competent teacher plans and designs instruction based on content area knowledge, diverse student characteristics, student performance data, curriculum goals, and the community context. The teacher plans for ongoing student growth and achievement.

Standard 4: Learning Environment

The competent teacher structures a safe and healthy learning environment that facilitates cultural and linguistic responsiveness, emotional well-being, self-efficacy, positive social interaction, mutual respect, active engagement, academic risk-taking, self-motivation, and personal goal-setting.

Standard 5: Instructional Delivery

The competent teacher differentiates instruction by using a variety of strategies that support critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and continuous growth and learning. This teacher understands that the classroom is a dynamic environment requiring ongoing modification of instruction to enhance learning for each student.

Standard 6: Reading, Writing & Oral Communication

The competent teacher has foundational knowledge of reading, writing, and oral communication within the content area and recognizes and addresses student reading, writing, and oral communication needs to facilitate the acquisition of content knowledge.

Standard 7: Assessment

The competent teacher understands and uses appropriate formative and summative assessments for determining student needs, monitoring student progress, measuring student growth, and evaluating student outcomes. The teacher makes decisions driven by data about curricular and instructional effectiveness and adjusts practices to meet the needs of each student.

Standard 8: Collaborative Relationships

The competent teacher builds and maintains collaborative relationships to foster cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social and emotional development. This teacher works as a team member with professional colleagues, students, parents or guardians, and community members.

Standard 9: Professionalism, Leadership, and Advocacy

The competent teacher is an ethical and reflective practitioner who exhibits professionalism; provides leadership in the learning community; and advocates for students, parents or guardians, and the profession.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Topics are not listed in chronological order; students should refer to the course calendar for the sequence of topics in a specific section. Individual instructors may add additional topics and/or work individually with students on certain units for a longer time, depending on the student’s areas of challenge.

UNIT ONE:  Introduction to TAP, Testing Tips, Initial Diagnostic Screening

  1. Test Structure
  2. Linking the TAP to the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IPTSs)
  3. Basic Tips--Tactics and Strategies for Multiple Choice Tests.
  4. Initial Diagnostic Screening

UNIT TWO: Review Workshops

  1. Organizing for Instruction
  2. Learning Survey
  3. Developing Individual Candidate Assessments
  4. Individually Paced Instruction
  5. Use of Supplementary Materials

UNIT THREE: TAP Practice Test

  1. Test Rules, Preliminary Instruction
  2. Writing Assignment
  3. Test Administration
  4. Test Scoring/Analysis
  5. Refining Individual Candidate Assessments

UNIT FOUR: Preparation for Actual TAP

  1. Candidate Success Estimates
  2. High Success Probability.
  3. Moderate Success Probability
  4. Low Success Probability
  5. Support Systems

UNIT FIVE: Strengthening Student General Education Coursework

  1. Strengthening Reading skills
  2. Strengthening Writing Skills
  3. Strengthening Math Skills
  4. College Support Services

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The course is taught in a computer laboratory or computer equipped classroom by an instructor experienced in modular instruction. The instructor includes lecture, demonstration, class discussion, and self-directed computer-based work. Students must have basic computer skills. The length of course will vary as it may be possible for students to “competency out” before the end of the semester.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

This course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Students in all EDN 100 sections must:

  • Attend an Education Program orientation session during this course if they have not done so beforehand.
  • Create a plan for completing and passing the Test of Academic Proficiency, which is required of all students prior to admittance into an Education major at a 4-year institution.
  • Attend class, participate in class discussions, and fully engage in group work and individual assignments given as part of the class session.
  • Purchase the required textbooks and bring the textbook to every class session.
  • Complete the assigned readings before coming to class. 
  • Complete work on time. Late work will not be accepted without consultation with the instructor.
  • Possess the ability to read and understand college-level text material. 
  • Submit written work free from typographical, spelling, and grammatical errors; typed, doubled-spaced, using 10 or 12 point normal fonts (Arial, Times New Roman), with 1-inch margins. When applicable, all citations should use APA format.
  • Possess the ability to use basic technology, such as Desire2Learn (the on-line course management system used for all EDN courses), e-mail, Internet search engines, library research databases and presentation software.  Students should regularly check the D2L course site, at least once before each class session.  Class announcements are made via D2L. Students should e-mail the instructor within the D2L class shell. Students need regular access to the Internet, which is available in the computer labs at both campuses. Students should schedule a technology instruction session with the instructor during office hours if extra technological help is needed.
  • Help the instructor create and maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for all students in the class. All students and the instructor should be treated respect and consideration.  Bullying, discriminatory, disruptive and/or disrespectful behavior can result in removal from the class and possible suspension or dismissal from the college.

 Instructors of specific EDN 100 sections may create additional requirements of students, related to things such as:

  • Specific attendance policies
  • Specific policies regarding use of technology in the classroom
  • Specific classrooms rules
  • Specific academic requirements

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. “Preparing for the TAP (Test of Academic Proficiency)” (ISBE) which can be accessed at This resource includes a test framework, general information, sample questions, practice tests (on-line and printable), Score Report explanation, and a computer based Testing tutorial.
  2. “TAP Test Preparation (TAP-Prep)” set of materials developed by an Illinois consortium which can be accessed at This resource includes an interactive, web-based curriculum that contains content, examples and questions for all three areas of the TAP. Site also includes a Learning Survey.
  3. Additional materials as provided by instructor

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Instructors of EDN 100 sections will create specific assignments based on the suggested assignments below. Each assignment should also have a detailed assignment sheet and grading rubric that is available to students in addition to the syllabus.

All sections of EDN 100 must include the following elements of evaluation:

  1. Education Orientation
    Students must attend an Education Program orientation session during this course if they have not done so beforehand. Instructors may give points or extra credit for completion of this requirement.
  2. Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) Plan
    Students must create a plan for completing and passing the Test of Academic Proficiency while at Oakton. This assessment is required of all students prior to admittance into an Education major at a 4-year institution. Instructors may give points or extra credit for completion of this requirement.
  3. Written Activities
    Students will complete a variety of writing assignments throughout the semester designed to strengthen Language Arts and Writing skills.
  4. Test/Exams
    Students will complete quizzes during each class session and weekly exams, designed to reduce test anxiety, teach test-taking skills and provide the content knowledge required to take and pass the TAP will be given.
  5. Class Assignments
    Students will complete in-class assignments during each class session focused on one or more of the 18 TAP standards.
  6. Homework Assignments
    Students will complete weekly homework assignments tailored to their individual areas of challenge.
  7. Evaluation Scheme
    Individual instructors must include a detailed breakdown of the possible points awarded for each assignment, as well as a tally of the total number of points available in the course.
  8. Final Grade
    1. 90% - 100%
    2. 80% - 90%
    3. 70% - 80%
    4. 60% - 70%
    5. Below 60%

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Instructor Contact Information
    Instructors will provide their contact information and office hours.
  2. Test of Academic Proficiency
    This assessment (formerly the Basic Skills Test) is a statewide requirement of all students prior to admittance into any Education major at a 4-year institution. Students should take the TAP at least one semester prior to graduation or transfer from Oakton. It is strongly recommended that candidates take measures to prepare for the test in order to maximize their potential for success. Given the high stakes nature of this test, students are urged to be prepared. There is a limit on the number of times that an individual can take the Test of Academic Proficiency. No individual will be allowed to take the Test of Academic Proficiency more than five times. For this reason, individuals not passing the test should not repeat the test without taking measures to remediate their areas of weakness. Sitting repeatedly for a test will also require paying to take the tests multiple times, which will be costly.
    The test is available in a computer-based format only through Pearson Vue Centers ( Individuals will be able to schedule a time to take the test whenever the test center is open (generally Monday-Saturday). As of July 2013, the cost of the entire test is $125 and a single sub-test fee is $75.

    In order to pass the Test of Academic Proficiency individuals must achieve passing scores on the three multiple choice sub-tests (Reading Comprehension, Language Arts and Mathematics) and achieve a passing score on the Writing sub-test (Writing Sample). The minimum passing scores for the three multiple choice sections require individuals to get approximately 75% of the items correct for each given sub-test. Individuals who take the Test of Academic Proficiency and are successful on one or more of the sub-tests will only need to retake the sub-tests on which they were unsuccessful.
    The Illinois State Board of Education will also accept a composite score of 22 or above on the ACT Plus Writing; or a composite (mathematics and critical reading) SAT score of 1030. Note that the writing subtest must have been taken for each test; however, the writing score is not included in the composite score requirement for either test. The ACT or SAT must have been taken within the past 10 years.
    Students must designate Oakton as a recipient of the scores on the TAP test application, or submit a copy of their ACT or SAT scores to the Education Program Coordinator, so that the Oakton Education Program can verify students have met this requirement prior to completion of the Teacher Preparation Concentration.
  3. Repeating the Course
    Students are only able to take this course once for college credit. Student are allowed to repeat the course, but must audit subsequent sections.
  4. Important dates
    Instructors will insert the current college calendar of important dates.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.