Basic Skills Examination

Basic Skills Examination

Prior to admission to the upper professional level in any Western Michigan University program that leads to initial teacher certification, students must pass a basic skills examination as required by the Michigan law. Over time, different tests have been approved to meet this requirement. The information below details available options to meet this requirement. Please contact the College of Education and Human Development Office of Admissions and Advising with questions.

Michigan Department of Education basic skills examination memo—June 7, 2017

The New SAT is the only approved basic skills examination option after September 23, 2017.

To be valid, the SAT must have been taken on or after March 2, 2016.

The minimum passing score for each section is:

  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 480. The optional SAT Essay is not required. 
  • SAT Mathematics: 530. 

Official SAT scores must be sent directly to Western Michigan University from College Board. 

SAT Preparation

Extensive, free SAT preparation is available through Khan Academy.

 testing prior to September 23, 2017

The Michigan Department of Education will accept a combination of SAT, ACT, Michigan Merit Exam (MME) or the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification Professional Readiness Exam (#96) subscores to meet the basic skills examination requirement as long as candidates are certified teachers before October 1, 2025. ACT, MME, or Professional Readiness Examination alternative minimum scores (-1 SEM) will no longer be valid for certification after October 1, 2025.

Passing scores and valid test dates are listed in the table below. Questions about the basic skills examination requirement should be directed to the advising office in the College of Education and Human Development.

Professional Readiness Exam subtests (test dates 10/2013 to 10/2017)

ACT subscores
(test dates 1989 to 10/2017)


MME subscores
(test dates 3/2007 to 1/2015)

SAT subscores
(test dates since 3/2/2016)

Reading Pass Reading 22 Reading 1108 Evidence-Based
Reading and Writing
Writing Pass English + Writing *22 Writing 1129
Mathematics Pass Mathematics 22 Mathematics 1116 Mathematics 530

*Score changed by MDE in October 2016

ACT Writing/English Combined Score Chart

If a student was considered to have passed two of the three PRE subtests (either with a passing score on the PRE or by using the ACT or MME alternative subscores) and has taken the MTTC PRE and met the alternative minimum score on the third subtest, then they will be considered to have met the basic skills examination requirement as long as they are certified teachers before October 1, 2025. This option cannot be used in conjunction with SAT or Basic Skills Test subscores.

On the SAT, Evidence-Based Reading and the Evidence-Based Writing are inextricably linked and reported as one section score. For this reason, candidates may use a passing score to count as a passing result for the Reading subtest or the Writing subtest, or both, according to their needs.