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The procedure for teacher certification in the state of Michigan consists of various components. The most significant of these components is passing the MTTC (Michigan Test for Teacher Certification). The other components are related to completing required coursework in a teacher preparation program and having the requisite field and clinical experience.
Passing MTTC for Teacher Certification
MTTC consists of the Basic Skills test and a series of subject-area tests. The specific tests that you will have to take will depend upon the type of teaching certificate that you wish to earn. For instance, if you have applied for a Michigan provisional teaching certificate, then you will have to pass the Basic Skills test before you can enrol in student teaching. At the same time, if you wish to earn a secondary-level teaching certificate, then you will have to pass the Basic Skills test along with the related subject-area test for each academic subject area in which you wish to be certified for teaching. You will have to take more than one subject-area test depending upon the number of academic fields in which you wish to be certified for teaching. Go to the link, www.mttc.nesinc.com/MI14_requirements.asp from the official website of MTTC, www.mttc.nesinc.com for detailed information about the MTTC tests that you will have to take.
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Once you have been able to identify the tests that you have to take, then only can you move ahead towards your aim of passing the MTTC by first understanding the aspects related to MTTC scoring. Unless you are aware of how your performance in MTTC will affect your chances of earning a teaching certificate, you will not be able to work out a foolproof method for passing the MTTC tests in the least number of attempts.
Skills Assessed by MTTC
The MTTC tests are criterion referenced. In other words, they evaluate your knowledge with respect to a specific criterion or established standard of competence. Your knowledge will not be assessed in relation to how other test-takers have performed in the MTTC. The MTTC tests evaluate your skills through the following tests:
- Basic Skills Test: This test is designed to evaluate your basic communication and mathematical skills. Your knowledge and skills in reading, mathematics and writing are assessed by this test. This assessment is carried out by approximately 85 multiple-choice questions and one performance assignment (a writing task) divided into three test sections, one for each of the skills being assessed:
You will be awarded separate scores for each test section. You need to pass each individual test section for passing the Basic Skills test. In case you do not pass the Basic Skills test, you have the liberty of retaking only that test section in which you have failed. There is no requirement of retaking a test section once you have passed it.
- Subject-area Tests: These tests pertain to a specific subject-area. You will have to take one or more subject-area tests depending upon the subjects you wish to teach and the requirements of the type of teacher certification that you have applied for. All the subject-area tests consist of multiple-choice questions with the exception of the world language tests. These language tests comprise of both multiple-choice questions and performance assignments. The subject-area tests are an assessment of your knowledge and skills in the related subject fields. The skill levels and the level of knowledge required for passing the subject-area tests is that which is necessary for performing satisfactorily as a teacher, in Michigan schools, in the subject area that the teacher is qualified for.
Your MTTC test results are in the form of scaled scores. These scaled scores are calculated on the basis of the number of test questions that you have answered correctly. The questions used to calculate this number will not include the unscorable questions. Unscorable questions are trial questions that may be included in certain tests to assess their validity for inclusion in future MTTC administrations. No marks are deducted for incorrect answers. The scaled scores range from 100 to 300. The minimum passing score is 220.
The types of questions that will be asked and the procedure for evaluating the performance assignments will vary from test to test. The official website of MTTC contains a study guide for each MTTC test. Go through the study guide for the tests that you are scheduled to take. The study guides will give you an insight into how your performance in each MTTC test will be scored.
You will have a ‘Passed’ or ‘Did Not Pass’ displayed in your score report depending upon whether you have passed all the test sections of the MTTC test taken by you. A ‘Pass’ will be displayed if you have achieved a scaled score of 220 or higher, with no information about the total scores that were achieved by you. If you have scored less than 220, then your total scaled scores will also be displayed along with a ‘Did Not Pass’. Your score for the multiple-choice questions of a particular test will be combined with your scores for the performance assignments of the same test. You will need to respond to all performance assignments of a test or else you will not pass the test irrespective of how well you have performed in the other performance assignments or the multiple-choice questions.
You can view your unofficial scores on the official website on the score report date for each test. The official score reports will be mailed to you on the score report date for each test. The score report dates for each test administration are available in the most recent MTTC Registration Bulletin that can be downloaded from the official website.
Scoring High in MTTC
Your aim should be to pass the MTTC with the highest scores possible. Although your total scores in the test taken by you will not be displayed in your score report if you pass the test, your performance in the individual subareas will be displayed. Therefore, you need to put in effort while studying for MTTC by ensuring that you carry out a thorough review of the test content and you are comfortable in answering the types of questions that will be asked in the test that you are taking. Here are some useful tips that can be kept in mind while taking the test, as they will increase your chances of getting good MTTC scores.
- Make sure that you spend time in understanding the test directions. You will avoid losing scores due to ignorance about the method for answering questions. For instance, if you respond to a written performance assignment in the test booklet itself, then your response will not be scored.
- 4 and a half hour will be given to you for completing each test session. Work out the time that you can afford to spend on each test question and manage your time accordingly. This will help you avoid leaving questions unanswered due to lack of time.
- Do not spend time on a question if you are not sure about the answer. Skip the question and fall back to it after you have answered all the other questions. You can take a sensible guess if you are still not able to arrive at an answer. There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so do not leave a question unanswered even if you are not sure of the answer.
- If you have time at hand, go over the answers that you have marked and ensure that you have marked them correctly and you have neatly erased the answers that you may have changed.
Improving Your MTTC Scores
If you have been unable to pass the MTTC, then the first step to be taken before registering for a retest is to study your score report. Your score report will contain an analysis of how you have performed in each subarea of the test you took. This analysis will help you in identifying your weaknesses and strengths with respect to the test content. Prepare for the retest by concentrating on your weaknesses. This will ensure that you are able to pass the MTTC and you will be one step closer to earning your teaching certificate!
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