Test Information Guide

Overview and Test Objectives
Field 55: Adult Basic Education

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: 14–16 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea II: 24–26 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea III: 24–26 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea IV: 9–11 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea V: 9–11 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 25%, Sub area III 25%, Sub area IV 10%, Sub area V 10%, and Sub area VI 15%.

Test Objectives

Table outlining test content and subject weighting by sub area and objective.
Subareas Range of Objectives Approximate Test Weighting
I English Language Arts 01–04 15%
II English for Speakers of Other Languages 05–06 25%
III Mathematics 07–10 25%
IV History and Social Science 11–13 10%
V Science 14–15 10%
VI Application of Knowledge and Understanding 16 15%

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


Subarea I–English Language Arts

Objective 0001: Understand the process of written composition.
Objective 0002: Understand grammar, usage, conventions, structure, and history of edited American English.
Objective 0003: Understand literature written in or translated into English.
Objective 0004: Understand theories and practices relating to the development of reading skills and strategies for adult learners.


Subarea II–English for Speakers of Other Languages

Objective 0005: Understand theories of language acquisition and factors that affect second-language development.
Objective 0006: Understand basic linguistic and sociolinguistic concepts and their application to English language learners.


Subarea III–Mathematics

Objective 0007: Understand number sense and operations.
Objective 0008: Understand basic concepts of algebra.
Objective 0009: Understand geometry and measurement.
Objective 0010: Understand data analysis, statistics, and probability.


Subarea IV–History and Social Science

Objective 0011: Understand chronology, major developments, and individuals in Massachusetts, United States, and world history.
Objective 0012: Understand basic principles and institutions of American government and their relation to the founding documents of the United States.
Objective 0013: Understand basic geographic principles and concepts, and major physical features of the world.


Subarea V–Science

Objective 0014: Understand basic principles and concepts of the physical and life sciences.
Objective 0015: Understand principles and procedures of scientific inquiry.


Subarea VI–Application of Knowledge and Understanding

Objective 0016: Analyze and evaluate the organization, focus, unity, and/or expression of ideas in a written text AND apply critical thinking skills (e.g., analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and evaluation) to a written passage that presents an argument related to an ABE content area.