Test Information Guide

Overview of the Tests

The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) program includes a Communication and Literacy Skills test, PreKindergarten to grade 12 subject matter tests, a Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test, and an Adult Basic Education test. See www.mtel.nesinc.com for a complete list of MTEL tests currently offered. Information on what tests must be taken may be obtained from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website, www.doe.mass.edu/mtel/.

All tests included in the program are criterion referenced; that is, they are designed to measure a candidate's knowledge in relation to an established standard of competence (criterion) rather than in relation to the performance of other candidates. Each MTEL test is also objective-based; that is, it is based on content stated in a set of test objectives for the test field. The purpose of the tests is to help identify those candidates who have the appropriate level of knowledge and skills judged to be important for educators in Massachusetts public schools.

The MTEL tests are explicitly aligned with the relevant Massachusetts licensure regulations and the state's standards in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. These documents are available at www.doe.mass.edu/mtel/; the MTEL test objectives are available at www.mtel.nesinc.com.

Description of the Tests

All tests in the MTEL program include both multiple-choice and open-response test items. The number of multiple-choice and open-response test items varies across the tests. Refer to the table below for information about types and numbers of test items on each type of test.

This table lists all MTEL tests, with the correlating number of multiple-choice or open-response items.
Test Type Test Description

Communication and Literacy Skills (01)

Reading subtest
This subtest includes 42 multiple-choice items. The multiple-choice section counts for 100 percent of the candidate's total subtest score.

Writing subtest
This subtest includes 35 multiple-choice items, seven (7) short-answer sentence correction items, and two open-response items—a summary exercise and a composition exercise. The summary exercise requires candidates to spend about 20–30 minutes to prepare an adequate response; the composition exercise requires candidates to spend about 45–60 minutes to prepare an adequate response. The multiple-choice and short-answer item section counts for 50 percent of the candidate's score, the summary exercise counts for 15 percent of the candidate's total test score, and the composition exercise counts for 35 percent of the candidate's total subtest score.

Subject Matter Tests
Academically Advanced (52)
Biology (13)
Business (19)
Chemistry (12)
Dance (46)
Early Childhood (02)
Earth Science (14)
English (07)
English as a Second Language (54)
Foundations of Reading (90)
General Science (10)
Health/Family and Consumer Sciences (21)
History (06)
Latin and Classical Humanities (15)
Mathematics (09)
Mathematics (Elementary) (53)
Mathematics (Middle School) (47)
Mathematics/Science (Middle School) (51)
Middle School Humanities (50)
Music (16)
Physical Education (22)
Physics (11)
Political Science/Political Philosophy (48)
Reading Specialist (08)
Speech (44)
Technology/Engineering (33)
Theater (45)
Visual Art (17)

These subject matter tests include 100 multiple-choice items and two open-response items requiring candidates to spend about 20–30 minutes each to prepare an adequate response. The multiple-choice section accounts for 80 percent and the open-response section counts for 20 percent of the candidate's total test score.

Subject Matter Test
General Curriculum (03)

Multi-subject subtest
This subtest includes 55 multiple-choice items and one open-response item requiring candidates to spend about 20–30 minutes to prepare an adequate response. The multiple-choice section counts for 90 percent and the open-response section counts for 10 percent of the candidate's subtest score.

Mathematics subtest
This subtest includes 45 multiple-choice items and one open-response item requiring candidates to spend about 20–30 minutes to prepare an adequate response. The multiple-choice section counts for 90 percent and the open-response section counts for 10 percent of the candidate's subtest score.

Subject Matter Test
Sheltered English Immersion (56)

This subject matter test includes 60 multiple-choice items and one open-response item consisting of five parts. The open-response item requires candidates to spend about 20–30 minutes to prepare an adequate response to each of the five parts of the assignment, for a total of about 2 ½ hours for the section. The multiple-choice section counts for 60 percent and the open-response section counts for 40 percent of the candidate's total test score.

Language Subject Matter Tests
Chinese (Mandarin) (29)
French (26)
German (27)
Italian (30)
Portuguese (32)
Russian (31)
Spanish (28)

French and Spanish
The language tests in French and Spanish include approximately 100 multiple-choice items and two open-response items, one of which requires a written response and the other an oral response. The multiple-choice items count for approximately 70 percent and the open-response items count for approximately 30 percent of the candidate's total test score.

Chinese (Mandarin), German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian
The language tests in Chinese (Mandarin), German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian include approximately 55 multiple-choice items and short-answer items and four open-response items, one of which requires an oral response. The multiple-choice items and short-answer items count for approximately 32 percent and the open-response items count for approximately 68 percent of the candidate's total test score.

Adult Basic Education (55)

This subject matter test includes 100 multiple-choice items and two open-response items requiring candidates to spend about 20–30 minutes each to prepare an adequate response. The multiple-choice section accounts for 85 percent and the open-response section counts for 15 percent of the candidate's total test score.

Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test (91)

Reading subtest
This subtest includes 60 multiple-choice items. The multiple-choice section counts for 100 percent of the candidate's total subtest score.

Writing subtest
This subtest includes 40 multiple-choice items and two open-response items—a summary exercise and a composition exercise. The summary exercise requires candidates to spend about 20–30 minutes to prepare an adequate response; the composition exercise requires candidates to spend about 45–60 minutes to prepare an adequate response. The multiple-choice item section counts for 55 percent of the candidate's score; the summary and composition exercises count for 45 percent of the candidate's total subtest score.

Development of the Tests

The development process for the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure involves numerous steps. During the development of the test objectives, the Massachusetts Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval, the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, and other key state and national documents were consulted. Massachusetts educators participated throughout the development process. The objectives for each test field were reviewed and validated by an advisory panel of licensed and practicing Massachusetts public school educators and higher education institution faculty. A content validation survey was conducted using randomly sampled, practicing Massachusetts public school educators and higher education institution faculty members in educator preparation programs and in the arts and sciences. Each survey participant reviewed the test objectives in his or her field to ensure that the objectives are important to the job of a Massachusetts educator and reflect the subject matter knowledge necessary for entry-level teaching in Massachusetts public schools. The test items were aligned with both the test objectives and the educational materials relevant to Massachusetts, including the state's licensure regulations and the curriculum frameworks. The test items were reviewed and verified by Massachusetts educators for inclusion on the test.

An individual's performance on a test is evaluated against an established standard or qualifying score. The qualifying score for each test is established by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and is based in part on the professional judgments and recommendations of Massachusetts educators. Candidates who do not achieve the qualifying score on a test may retake it. Candidates who have met the qualifying score on a test are not required to retake it.

Structure of the Tests

While the content covered by each test in the MTEL program is different, the structure that underlies the content of the tests is similar. In general, the structure is as follows:

The chart below illustrates the relationship among subareas, test objectives, descriptive statements, and test items in a typical test field.

test item sample chart

SAMPLE

Test

General Science

Subarea

Science and Technology/Engineering

Objective

0014 Understand and apply basic concepts and principles of life science to interpret and analyze phenomena.

Descriptive Statement

For example, basic characteristics and needs of living things; basic concepts and processes related to cells and organisms; plant structures, functions, and processes (e.g., photosynthesis); the systems of the human body; basic principles of genetics and heredity; and how organisms interact with one another and their environments.

Test question

A major role the nucleus plays in the functioning of a cell is to:

  1. regulate the movement of materials in and out of the cell
  2. provide energy that the cell needs to operate
  3. store food, waste products generated in the cell, and water
  4. control the division and growth of cells