MTEL ESL Test- A Brief Overview

The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) is a computer-based assessment test piloted to evaluate the credibility of educators and teaching professionals by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Tutors seeking a licence to schooling the students of prekindergarten to grade 12 are required to take this test in order to attain a teaching license. The MTEL test measures the subject expertise and proficiency level communication of the educators with the students, parents, guardians and their co-faculty. The test is a mixed bag of assorted subtests in diverse subjects namely MTEL ESL (English as a Second Language), Math, Science, Dance, History, Reading, Theatre, Visual Art and more.

Candidates are required to exhibit their knowledge competency and language skills by means of comprehensive reading, crisp writing and clear speech. MTEL is a test based on objectives and reference criteria aimed to judge the candidates in accordance to the set established standards. The MTEL test is of four types namely;

  1. Communications and Literacy Skills Test
  2. Academic (Prekindergarten to grade 12) Subject Matter Tests that includes MTEL ESL
  3. Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test
  4. Adult Basic Education Test


The MTEL ESL test is designed to assess the subject knowledge of the candidate in order to reward the Massachusetts English as a Second Language License.

  1. The subject English is covered in the sub-tests namely;
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) Prekindergarten - Grade 6
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) Grade 5 - Grade 12
  2. Test Format: It includes multiple-choice questions with four options to choose from and open-response questions.

  3. Test Duration: Duration of each subtest is 4 hours.

  4. Test Structure for MTEL ESL Subtest:
    • It includes 100 multiple-choice questions with four options to choose from.

    • It includes 4 open-response questions.

    • The mode of answering the test is with oral responses.

    • Test Content(a): 80% of the multiple-choice test content comprises of-

      1. English Language Listening proficiency
      2. Foundations of Second-Language Instruction
      3. Second-Language and Content Learning
      4. English Language Oral Proficiency
    • Test Content (b): 20% of the open response test content is based on Integration of knowledge & understanding

      1. Conversation communication (For example: a conversation between two friends)
      2. Narrative Communication (For example: to narrate an incident or an event)
      3. Persuasive Communication (For example: the position taken on an issue)
      4. Language Fluency & Pronunciation (For example: script reading)
  5. Scoring for MTEL ESL test: Score reports can be accessed for 45 days on the MTEL website on the score report date listed. However, the scores for English and History will be available within five weeks of the test date. Refer the link for more details.

Preparing For the MTEL ESL Sub Test

  • Test Objectives: Before heading towards the MTEL ESL preparation, it is strongly advised to get familiarized with the test objectives of the subtest. You may follow the link for the PDF version:

  • Information Booklets: Each booklet for MTEL ESL is designed with the required information about the test content, sample questions in multiple-choice format, sample open-response questions. It also includes varied tips and strategies to prepare you before taking the test. You may follow the link:

  • Study Tools: MTEL English as a Second Language (MTEL ESL) 54 Teacher Certification Test Prep Study Guide - A study guide and MTEL as a Second Language (MTEL ESL) 54 Practice Test 1 by Sharon A Wynne

  • MTEL ESL Prep Courses: The Massachusetts Higher Education institutions offer diverse preparatory courses. The list of these institutions along with the courses they provide is available on the official website of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The updated costs for the specific courses and the other details can be availed directly from the mentioned institutions. You may follow the link for more information:

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