Test Information Guide

Overview and Test Objectives
Field 48: Political Science/Political Philosophy

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: 18–20 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea II: 24–26 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea III: 18–20 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea IV: 24–26 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea V: 11–13 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 15%, Sub area II 20%, Sub area III 15%, Sub area IV 20%, Sub area V 10%, 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 Political Philosophy 01–04 15%
II U.S. Government and Civics 05–09 20%
III Comparative Government and International Relations 10–11 15%
IV History 12–14 20%
V Geography and Economics 15–17 10%
VI Integration of Knowledge and Understanding 18 20%

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


Subarea I–Political Philosophy

Objective 0001: Understand important political science theories, concepts, and terms.
Objective 0002: Understand political philosophy of the classical and medieval eras.
Objective 0003: Understand developments in political philosophy from the Renaissance through the seventeenth century.
Objective 0004: Understand developments in political philosophy from 1700 to the present.


Subarea II–U.S. Government and Civics

Objective 0005: Understand the founding documents and debates of the United States and Massachusetts.
Objective 0006: Understand the historical development of political thought and democratic government in the United States from its origins through the twentieth century.
Objective 0007: Understand the structure, organization, and operation of government at the federal, state, and local levels in the United States.
Objective 0008: Understand the election process, the origins and development of political parties, and the role of interest groups, the media, and public opinion in the U.S. political system.
Objective 0009: Understand the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens and the personal attributes necessary for successful participation in democratic self-government.


Subarea III–Comparative Government and International Relations

Objective 0010: Understand, compare, and contrast historical and contemporary forms of government.
Objective 0011: Understand international relations, the purposes and functions of international law and organizations, and the formation and execution of U.S. foreign policy.


Subarea IV–History

Objective 0012: Understand major political, economic, social, and cultural developments in U.S. history.
Objective 0013: Understand major political, economic, social, and cultural developments in the evolution of Western civilization.
Objective 0014: Understand major political, economic, social, and cultural developments in world history.


Subarea V–Geography and Economics

Objective 0015: Understand major physical features of the world, geographic concepts, and the effects of geographic factors on the development of human societies.
Objective 0016: Understand fundamental economic concepts, important developments in economic theory, models of economic organization, and characteristics of major economic systems.
Objective 0017: Understand the history, principles, components, organization, and operation of the U.S. economic system.


Subarea VI–Integration of Knowledge and Understanding

Objective 0018: Prepare an organized, developed essay on topics related to the purpose, history, and experiences of government in human societies and the development and evolution of Western political philosophy.