PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure® (MTEL®) program was initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 1998 as part of our statewide education reform initiative for educators seeking PreKindergarten to grade 12 licenses. The MTEL program includes tests of communication and literacy skills as well as tests of subject matter knowledge. The tests are designed to ensure that Massachusetts educators can communicate adequately with students, parents/guardians, and other educators and that they are knowledgeable in the subject matter of the license sought. The MTEL program was expanded in November 2004 to include tests for candidates seeking vocational technical and adult basic education licenses.

The MTEL tests are designed to measure candidates' ability to read with comprehension and write with clarity as well as to measure the breadth and depth of candidates' knowledge in specific subject fields. The tests consist of multiple-choice items and open-response items that typically require responses in essay or problem-solving form. Tests for languages other than English assess listening and reading comprehension as well as the ability to write effectively and speak fluently in the language being tested.

The MTEL tests are criterion referenced and objective based. A criterion-referenced test is designed to measure a candidate's subject matter knowledge in relation to an established standard rather than in relation to the performance of other candidates.

Each test is designed to measure areas of knowledge called subareas. Within each subarea, statements of important knowledge, called objectives, define the content of the test. The test objectives were validated for the MTEL by Massachusetts educators, including higher education faculty, vocational technical teachers, adult basic education teachers, and other professional educators, and were aligned with Massachusetts licensure regulations, Massachusetts Vocational Technical Education Regulations, and the state's standards in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and the Adult Basic Education curriculum frameworks, as appropriate.

Massachusetts educators, including higher education faculty, vocational technical teachers, adult basic education teachers, and other professional educators, completed a content validation survey for each test. Each survey participant reviewed the objectives for his or her field to ensure that the objectives for each test are important to the job of a Massachusetts educator.

Test items are aligned with both the objectives and the educational materials relevant to Massachusetts, including state licensure regulations, Massachusetts Vocational Technical Education Regulations, and the state's standards in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and the Adult Basic Education curriculum frameworks, as appropriate. The test items are reviewed by Massachusetts educators and higher education faculty.

The MTEL program includes the following tests.

Test Type Test Description
Communication and Literacy Skills test The Communication and Literacy Skills test consists of two subtests: reading and writing. The reading subtest contains multiple-choice items in the areas of meaning of words and phrases in context; main idea; writer's purpose; relationship among ideas; critical reasoning; outlining; summarizing; and graph interpretation. The writing subtest contains multiple-choice items in the areas of establishing and maintaining a main idea; common errors of sentence construction; grammar; usage; spelling; capitalization; and punctuation. The short-answer items require the revision of sentences to correct errors. The two open-response items are summary and composition exercises.
Academic (PreK–12) subject matter tests The Academic (PreK–12) subject matter tests consist of multiple-choice items and open-response items. Each subject matter test assesses proficiency and depth of understanding of the subject at a level required of an educator in Massachusetts public schools. See "Test Selection" for a complete list of all Academic (PreK–12) subject matter tests.

The General Curriculum test consists of two subtests: the multi-subject subtest (language arts, history and social science, and science and technology/engineering) and the mathematics subtest.

Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test The Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test consists of two subtests: reading and writing. The reading subtest contains multiple-choice items. The writing subtest contains three sections: written summary, written composition, and multiple-choice items in grammar and mechanics. Areas tested include the comprehension and analysis of readings; development of ideas in essay form on specific topics; outlining and summarizing; interpretation of tables and graphs; and mastery of vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics.
Adult Basic Education test The Adult Basic Education test consists of multiple-choice items and open-response items that typically require responses in essay or problem-solving form. Test content areas include English language arts, English for speakers of other languages, mathematics, history and social science, and science.

All MTEL tests may include questions that will not count toward candidates' scores. These questions are placed on the test to collect information about how well they perform under actual testing conditions.