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About the Tests

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. Most 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.

About the NES® (National Evaluation Series™)

The NES is a nationally available teacher certification testing program. The NES teacher certification tests are comprehensive exams aligned to professionally accepted national learning standards, covering areas such as essential academic skills, reading instruction, and commonly taught elementary, middle, and secondary grade-level subjects.

The NES Essential Academic Skills Subtest I: Reading and Essential Academic Skills Subtest II: Writing have been adopted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. These NES subtests can be taken as an alternative to the Communication and Literacy Skills test in order to fulfill licensure requirements.

About MTEL-Flex

MTEL-Flex provides an assessment option for MTEL candidates whose score on select MTEL test fields is within one standard error of measurement to the passing score (for more information about eligibility for MTEL-Flex, candidates should review the relevant MTEL-Flex assessment page). Candidates must have achieved this score on the currently operating version of the test. Candidates who meet this eligibility requirement have the opportunity to submit an MTEL-Flex assessment as an alternative to retaking the full MTEL test.

Following the directions provided in the MTEL-Flex Handbook and the assessment-specific MTEL-Flex template, candidates provide an analysis of an MTEL test objective to demonstrate the depth of their subject matter knowledge. Most candidates (with the exception of candidates taking the MTEL-Flex Spanish—Oral Expression) will provide a written submission to demonstrate their subject matter knowledge. Candidates will complete the analysis and submit it to be scored using Pearson’s ePortfolio system. Candidates who pass MTEL-Flex will meet the relevant subject matter test requirement for their license but may still need to take and pass additional subject matter tests as required by their licensure area.

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 and public school educators, completed a content validation survey for each test. Each survey participant reviewed the objectives for their 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.

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