Test Information Guide

Overview and Test Objectives
Field 14: Earth Science

Test Overview

Table outlining the test format, number of questions, time, and passing score.
Format Computer-based test (CBT); 100 multiple-choice questions, 2 open-response items
Number of Questions
  • Subarea I: 19–21 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea II: 19–21 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea III: 19–21 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea IV: 19–21 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea V: 19–21 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea VI: 2 open-response items
Time 4 hours (does not include 15-minute CBT tutorial)
Passing Score 240

The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) are designed to measure a candidate's knowledge of the subject matter contained in the test objectives for each field. The MTEL are aligned with the Massachusetts educator licensure regulations and, as applicable, with the standards in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks.

The test objectives specify the content to be covered on the test and are organized by major content subareas. The chart below shows the approximate percentage of the total test score derived from each of the subareas.

The test assesses a candidate's proficiency and depth of understanding of the subject at the level required for a baccalaureate major according to Massachusetts standards. Candidates are typically nearing completion of or have completed their undergraduate work when they take the test.

Pie chart of approximate test weighting.

Sub area I 16%, Sub area II 16%, Sub area III 16%, Sub area IV 16%, Sub area V 16%, and Sub area VI 20%.

Test Objectives

Table outlining test content and subject weighting by sub area and objective.
Subareas Range of Objectives Approximate Test Weighting
I Nature of Science 01–04 16%
II Geology 05–08 16%
III Oceanography and Freshwater Systems 09–11 16%
IV Meteorology 12–15 16%
V Astronomy 16–19 16%
VI Integration of Knowledge and Understanding 20 20%

*The open-response items may relate to topics covered in any of the subareas.


Subarea I–Nature of Science

Objective 0001: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry and scientific processes.
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Objective 0002: Understand the processes of gathering, organizing, analyzing, and reporting scientific data.
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Objective 0003: Understand scientific tools, instruments, materials, and safety practices.
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Objective 0004: Understand the historical and contemporary relationships among science, technology, and society.
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Subarea II–Geology

Objective 0005: Understand the characteristics, classification, and formation of rocks, minerals, and geologic energy resources.
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Objective 0006: Understand the earth's structure and its internal dynamics and the constructional forces that have shaped its surface.
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Objective 0007: Understand processes of weathering, erosion, and deposition and the landforms they produce.
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Objective 0008: Understand geologic time divisions, methods of relative and absolute dating, and major events in the earth's geologic history.
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Subarea III–Oceanography and Freshwater Systems

Objective 0009: Understand the hydrologic cycle and types, characteristics, and uses of freshwater systems.
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Objective 0010: Understand the characteristics of ocean water, ocean currents, tides, and waves.
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Objective 0011: Understand the origin, structure, and topography of ocean basins and continental shelves.
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Subarea IV–Meteorology

Objective 0012: Understand the composition, structure, and properties of the earth's atmosphere.
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Objective 0013: Understand the characteristics of the earth's major climatic regions and analyze factors that affect global and regional climate conditions.
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Objective 0014: Understand the conditions in the atmosphere that produce different types of weather.
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Objective 0015: Understand the effects that weather and climate have on society and the causes of atmospheric pollution and climate change.
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Subarea V–Astronomy

Objective 0016: Understand the characteristics, movements, and interactions of the earth, moon, and sun.
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Objective 0017: Understand the organization and components of the solar system.
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Objective 0018: Understand stars and their evolution.
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Objective 0019: Understand the origin, structure, and evolution of the universe.
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Subarea VI–Integration of Knowledge and Understanding

Objective 0020: Prepare an organized, developed analysis on a topic related to one or more of the following subareas: Nature of Science, Geology, Oceanography and Freshwater Systems, Meteorology, and Astronomy.

(Refer to objectives 0001 through 0019 and associated descriptive statements.)