The uncertainty regarding future career prospects looms large in front of everyone, especially when they are in the process of deciding the career they would like to pursue. People would like to weigh all pros and cons of a career option before they start working in the required direction. There is no denying the fact that you may be certain of the career that you would like to take up, but unless you have the requisite abilities and qualifications, you will not be able to achieve the aim that you have set for yourself. Similarly, for taking up a career in the field of education in the state of Massachusetts, you need to meet certain criteria and the inability to meet these criteria could lead to your not being able to practice your desired profession. The foremost amongst these criteria is the procurement of an educator’s license.
MTEL and Educator Licences
You will be required to pass the MTEL (Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure) for pursuing a career related to the field of education in the state of Massachusetts. Passing the MTEL is mandatory for grant of educator licences for the state of Massachusetts. MTEL is a set of tests and the number and type of tests that you will have to take will depend upon the type of educator licence that you wish to earn. Without an educator licence your chances of employment in schools and other educational institutions will be seriously jeopardised. Passing the MTEL is a major obstacle in the path to earning an educator licence. Therefore, you need to understand the MTEL test format and its scoring procedure so that you are able to attain the scores necessary for passing the MTEL tests and ultimately earning your educator licence.
Finding out the Requirements for Grant of Educator License
Information related to the eligibility criteria and combination of MTEL tests that will have to be taken by you for fulfilling the requirements for grant of an educator licence is available at www.doe.mass.edu/educators/e_license.html, which is the website of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
MTEL consists of the following tests:
1. Communication and Literacy Skills Test: This is an assessment of your proficiency in basic reading and writing skills. This MTEL test consists of two subtests: Reading and Writing. The Reading subtest consists of multiple-choice questions only. The writing subtest consists of both multiple-choice questions and open-response questions.
2. Academic (PreK–12) Subject Matter Tests: Each of these tests evaluates your knowledge of the subject matter pertaining to a specific subject area. You will have to take the Academic (PreK–12) Subject Matter test pertaining to the subject area that you will be teaching. These tests will consist of both multiple-choice questions and open-response questions.
3. Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test: This test consists of a Reading and a Writing subtest for assessing your basic reading and writing skills by presenting you with multiple-choice questions and open-response questions.
4. Adult Basic Education Test: This test will consist of both multiple-choice questions and open-response questions.
Once you have decided the type of educator license that you wish to procure, the next obvious step is to identify the set of MTEL tests that will have to be passed by you. For instance, if you wish to earn a first Massachusetts Academic (PreK–12) license, then you will have to take the Communication and Literacy Skills test and the relevant Academic (PreK–12) subject matter test. You will have to pass both the subtests of the Communication and Literacy Skills test and you will have to pass the Academic (PreK–12) subject matter test also to qualify for meeting the requirements for the grant of Academic (PreK–12) license. Hence, it is important for you to find out the set of MTEL tests that you will have to take for earning your desired license and then only can you plan on preparing for passing the tests.
Setting an Aim for Yourself
Your preparation for taking the MTEL cannot proceed in the right direction if you are unaware of the aim that you have to achieve. Your aim would be to attain the passing scores for the MTEL test that you are scheduled to take. The passing scores for each MTEL test are different and they are set by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. You will have to visit the official website of MTEL, www.mtel.nesinc.com and find out the passing scores for the MTEL test that you are going to take. Make sure that you prepare for MTEL with the aim of scoring higher than the passing scores. Simply aiming for the passing scores can have dire consequences as you may not do as well as expected and may fall short of the passing scores, thereby failing on the MTEL.
The MTEL Scoring System
- The points for the multiple-choice questions are based on the number of questions that you have answered correctly. Each question will contribute equally towards the score.
- The points earned in a test range from 100 to 300.
- Points earned on a test are converted to scaled scores to standardize the scores earned across different test administrations.
- Scaled scores for the open-response questions are derived on the basis of your performance in the questions.
- The total scaled score for a test is calculated on the basis of the scaled scores for both the multiple-choice questions and the open-response questions.
- You will require a scaled score of 240 or higher to pass any MTEL test. You will have to attain the passing scores for each of the subtests of an MTEL test in order to pass that particular MTEL test.
- The test content for each MTEL test is divided into specific areas called subareas. Objectives within each subarea define the test content pertaining to that subarea. A subarea and a subtest for an MTEL test are two different entities. An important point to be kept in mind is that you do not have to perform equally well in all the subareas of a test in order to pass that test, but you will have to pass the individual subtests of an MTEL test in order to pass the test. There is no requirement of passing the individual subareas.
- The passing scores for the MTEL tests do not have any expiry date. In other words, you have to pass the MTEL tests only once as there is no validity period for the MTEL scores.
The MTEL Score Report
Your MTEL scores will be sent to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and to you as well. At the time of registration, you can choose certain institutions and employers to whom you would like your MTEL scores to be sent. Your MTEL results for the MTEL tests taken by you on the test date will be displayed in your score report. Your total MTEL scores will be displayed if you have not been able to pass the MTEL tests taken by you, else there will be an indication in your score report that you have passed the MTEL tests.
Your performance in the individual subareas and subtests of the MTEL tests taken by you will also be indicated in the score report. Your performance in each subarea for the multiple-choice questions is classified into four levels depending upon the number of questions you have answered correctly:
- Most or all items
- Many of the items
- Some of the items
- Few or no items
Performance in the open-response questions is classified under the following four levels:
- Weak, Blank/Unscorable
There will be a check mark under the column corresponding to the level in which your performance falls for the multiple-choice questions and the open-response questions of the subtests for the test that you have taken.
One Last Word!
The official website contains a detailed description of the score distribution for each of the MTEL tests. Ensure that you go through the scoring details of the MTEL tests that you have to take well before you start planning your study for taking the MTEL tests. This information will help you in working out a prep plan that will lead you to sure shot success in the MTEL tests!
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