Test Information Guide

Overview and Test Objectives
Field 66: Biology

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
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 1 14%, Sub area 2 22%, Sub area 3 22%, Sub area 4 22%, Sub area 5 20%.

Test Objectives

Table outlining test content and subject weighting by sub area and objective.
Subareas Range of Objectives Approximate Test Weighting
Multiple-Choice
1 Molecules: Structures and Processes 01–02 14%
2 Organisms: Structures and Processes 03–05 22%
3 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics 06–08 22%
4 Heredity and Biological Evolution 09–11 22%
80%
Open-Response
5 Integration of Knowledge and Understanding
Key Scientific Concepts 12 10%
Application of Science and Engineering Practices 13 10%
20%

 

Subarea 1–Molecules: Structures and Processes

0001—Apply knowledge of the chemical components of living systems and basic principles of biochemistry.

For example:

0002—Apply knowledge of the processes that generate cellular energy.

For example:

 

Subarea 2–Organisms: Structures and Processes

0003—Apply knowledge of cell structure and function and of the cell cycle.

For example:

0004—Apply knowledge of the structures, structural organization, and life processes of unicellular and multicellular organisms (i.e., archaea, bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals).

For example:

0005—Apply knowledge of human anatomy and physiology.

For example:

 

Subarea 3–Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

0006—Analyze interactions and dynamics of populations, communities, ecosystems, and biomes.

For example:

0007—Apply knowledge of the cycling of materials and the transfer of energy through an ecosystem.

For example:

0008—Analyze the effects of human activities on ecosystems and the environment.

For example:

 

Subarea 4–Heredity and Biological Evolution

0009—Apply knowledge of the molecular basis of genetics.

For example:

0010—Apply knowledge of the principles of genetics to understand the inheritance and variation of traits.

For example:

0011—Apply knowledge of the theories and mechanisms of evolution to understand biological change and the diversity of life.

For example:

 

Subarea 5–Integration of Knowledge and Understanding

0012—Prepare an organized, developed analysis of a key topic in biology related to Molecules: Structures and Processes or Heredity and Biological Evolution.

Including:

0013—Prepare an organized, developed analysis of a key topic in biology related to Organisms: Structures and Processes or Ecosystems: Interaction, Energy, and Dynamics that emphasizes the application of science and engineering practices in a classroom setting.

Including: