About MTEL Test

Everything comes at a price! If you are keen on following a career in the field of education, then you will have to earn a teaching licence. You just can’t hope to walk into a public school and get a job as an educator without a teaching license despite having thorough knowledge of the subject matter that you wish to teach. You will have to demonstrate your skills which should be of the level that is necessary for a successful and effective educator. Teaching licensure examinations are designed to evaluate these very skills.

What is a Teaching Licence?

A teaching license or credential is conferred by a state agency to adults who are keen on becoming educators or teachers in that state. The educators will have to meet certain specific requirements like education courses and teaching experience along with the mandatory requirements of having passed an examination for grant of the licence. The teaching licensure and certification process is different for each state. Most states have their own state-mandated teaching certification examinations. MTEL (Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure) has been implemented as a part of the statewide education reform initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

There are three types of educator licenses that are issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of Massachusetts.

  • Academic (PreK-12): These licenses are required for being employed as teachers, administrators, specialist teachers, and professional support personnel
  • Vocational Technical Education: These licenses are required for employment in vocational technical education programs that are approved by the state
  • Adult Basic Education: Certain employers may ask you to produce this license for employment.


The MTEL Tests

The MTEL tests are classified into four types:

1.         Communication and Literacy Skills Test: This MTEL test consists of two subtests: Reading and Writing. The Reading subtest consists of multiple-choice questions that will assess your knowledge of meanings of words and phrases and your abilities to identify the main idea and understand relationships among ideas. Your critical reasoning skills will also be evaluated by this subtest. The writing subtest consists of both multiple-choice questions and open-response questions. The multiple-choice questions will evaluate your knowledge of grammar, usage, spelling, capitalization and punctuation and your abilities to identify and correct errors in sentence structure. The open-response questions will consist of summary and composition exercises.

2.         Academic (PreK–12) Subject Matter Tests: Each of the MTEL Academic (PreK-12) tests pertains to a specific subject area. Your knowledge of the subject matter will be put to test by the Academic (PreK-12) pertaining to that subject area. You are expected to have the knowledge and skills of the level that is required of an educator specializing in that subject area. You will have to take the MTEL test corresponding to the subject that you wish to teach.   The Academic (PreK–12) Subject Matter tests will consist of multiple-choice items along with open-response items.

3.         Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test: This test consists of two subtests: Reading and Writing. The subtests will assess your reading skills and your writing skills by presenting multiple-choice questions as well as open-response questions.

4.         Adult Basic Education test: This test will consist of both multiple-choice questions and open-response questions. The test content is based on English language arts, mathematics, history, social sciences and science.

You will have to take a specific set of MTEL tests to meet the requirements for grant of an educator license depending upon the type of educator license that you want. For instance, if you want to earn the Academic (PreK–12) license, you will have to pass the Communication and Literacy Skills test along with the Academic (PreK–12) subject matter tests that are related to your choice of subject area. The eligibility conditions and the set of MTEL tests to be taken will be different if you need an adult basic education license or an educator license for employment in vocational technical education programs.
The website, www.doe.mass.edu/educators/e_license.html of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education contains detailed information about the licensing requirements for each type of educator licence granted by the state. Make sure that you go through this website in detail before registering for MTEL. This website will give you an insight into the other criteria, apart from taking MTEL tests, for grant of educator licences.
Passing MTEL

Each MTEL test has different qualifying scores. These qualifying or passing scores are set by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. Go through the official website of MTEL, www.mtel.nesinc.com to find out the passing scores for the MTEL test that you need to take for earning your educator license. Each multiple-choice question that you answer correctly will contribute equally towards the points that you have earned for that particular test. The points thus earned range from 100 to 300 for each MTEL test. These points are converted to scaled scores for standardisation of performances across different test administrations. Your performance in the open-response questions will also be converted to scaled scores. You need to score a scaled score of 240 or higher to pass any MTEL test. There is no validity period associated with any of the MTEL scores. Thus, if you have passed the MTEL once, you need not take it ever again as your MTEL scores will not expire.

Your MTEL scores will be received by you and the institutions and employers chosen by you at the time of registration. Your MTEL scores will also be sent to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Your MTEL score report will display the results for the MTEL tests which had been taken by you on the test date displayed in the score report. Your score report will consist of the following:

  • Whether you have passed the MTEL tests or not
  • Your total MTEL scores, if you have not passed the MTEL tests
  • Your performance in the individual subareas of the MTEL tests

Registering for MTEL
You can register for MTEL from the official website of MTEL. You will first have to select the test that you have to take followed by the test date and the test site. You also have the option of registering for MTEL by mail or telephone. The method to be employed for registering for MTEL will depend upon the registration period:  regular, late or emergency. You can pay your registration fee by credit card (VISA or MasterCard only) if you are registering by telephone or internet. You will have to pay using check or money order if you are registering by mail. Payment by cash is not accepted. The registration processing fee is $30 per test administration. This is in addition to the fee for taking each MTEL test, which is different for different tests. Go to the official website to find out the fees for each MTEL test.
Preparing for MTEL
Your preparation for MTEL should start with the drive to familiarize yourself with the test objectives of the MTEL tests that you have to take. This information is available at the MTEL website. Download the practice tests available at the official website of MTEL and solve them to get an idea of how well you are likely to perform in the MTEL. If you find that you are not well prepared for any of the subject areas, you should take necessary action in the form of attending prep courses or collecting good quality study guides for assisting you in improving your skill levels in the concerned subject areas. The link, www.doe.mass.edu/mtel from the website of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education contains general information about MTEL preparation including preparation resources.
Study Hard!
If you have set your heart on becoming an educator in the state of Massachusetts, then you cannot afford to let something like inadequate preparation come in your way of achieving your aim. Inadequate preparation for the MTEL tests can be easily avoided. All that you need is good resources for study and a thorough understanding of the MTEL test format.  Both of these coupled with a determination to succeed will result in your getting good MTEL scores and you will be well on your way to becoming a licensed educator in the state of Massachusetts!

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