What is the CTEL Exam?


California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) Exam

California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) uses the CTEL as part of the credentialing process for teachers of English learners (EL). This certification test contains three subtests: Language and Language Development, Assessment and Instruction, and Culture and Inclusion. In order to receive English Learner Authorization or Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) credentials, an applicant may need to obtain passing scores on all three CTEL subtests.

The CTEL Subtests

Each CTEL subtest is designed to focus on specific skills or knowledge needed to be an effective teacher of students who are learning English.

CTEL 1: Language and Language Development

This subtest is designed to evaluate an applicant's knowledge of the structure of the English language and their ability to help people learn English. Test-takers must show they know how to evaluate speech and are able to help students develop reading and writing skills. They are also tested on their ability to teach grammatical and mechanical rules, such as maintaining subject-verb agreement, and how to use language in different contexts.

There are 50 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response assignment on this subtest. Test-takers are given 1 hour 45 minutes to complete this subtest.

CTEL 2: Assessment and Instruction

This subtest is designed to ensure that those who pass are capable of assessing the skills of a student learning English. It also evaluates the test-taker's awareness of the programs designed to teach English-language learners. Questions focus on standards-based instruction, types of assessment, content area assessment, program foundations for English learners and instructional planning.

This is the longest CTEL subtest. It has 2 essay questions and 60 multiple-choice questions. The CTEL 2 subtest takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

CTEL 3: Culture and Inclusion

Prospective English language teachers taking the CTEL must be able to show that they understand what culture is and the aspects of a person's life that may be defined by their cultural beliefs. This subtest focuses on the test-taker's awareness of how a person's culture can impact their ability to learn to speak English and how culture may affect the educational process for some students.

This is the shortest CTEL subtest, with only 40 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay question. Test-takers receive one and a half hours to complete the CTEL 3 subtest.

  • Get ready for this subtest by working through the 57 lessons offered in the CTEL 3 - Culture & Inclusion: Practice & Study Guide. They are specifically designed to provide a thorough review of all of the relevant information on which you could be tested and to familiarize you with the types of questions that you'll see on the test.

CTEL Exam Info

When taking the CTEL exam, you can choose to take all three subtests together at the same time, or you can take each subtest separately. Test-takers who choose to take all three subtests together will pay $260 in test fees. Those who opt to take the subtests separately will pay more - $344 in total. Individual fees for the CTEL subtests are $98 for the CTEL 1, $147 for CTEL 2, and the CTEL 3 costs $99. The test is computer based, and results are available within five weeks of testing.

The process for creating an account, registering for the CTEL and scheduling the CTEL or a CTEL subtest is explored here. Information about how to locate available test times and locations and the CTEL refund policy is also provided.

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