What is the MTEL?

What Is the MTEL?

The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure program was designed to confirm the subject area knowledge of aspiring teachers in Massachusetts. The MTEL tests also measure these professionals' literacy skills as well as their ability to communicate with students, parents, and fellow educators. MTEL exams are administered to individuals seeking preK-12 licensure as well as those pursuing adult education and vocational technical education credentials.

All aspects of the MTEL, including development, administration, and scoring, are handled by National Evaluation Systems (NES), a division of Pearson Education, Inc.

MTEL Licensure Requirements

Most instructors in Massachusetts are required to complete the MTEL program before beginning their careers. As of this time, the MTEL program is the only way to attain licensure. Applicants who have passed licensure exams in different states, however, can request to use their previous test scores as an exemption.


All preK-12 teachers need to complete the test of Communication and Literacy Skills. In addition to this exam, candidates have to pass any other tests related to the subject they wish to teach. These can include tests in such areas as biology, earth science, foreign language, and early childhood.

Vocational Technical

Aspiring vocational technical educators must complete a two-part assessment. The first part focuses on literacy and communication skills - candidates can take the Vocational Literacy Skills test or opt to sit for the Communication and Literacy Skills test instead. The latter half of testing includes a written and performance exam related to a teacher's desired subject.

Adult Education

Educators who wish to earn licensure in the field of adult education will need to pass the same Communication and Literacy Skills test as those looking to teach preK-12. Additionally, they must complete a subject matter test that concentrates on Adult Basic Education.

While this credential is not required by the state, it may be among employers' hiring prerequisites.

MTEL Scores and Formatting

MTEL exams use a scaled scoring system that awards scores ranging from 100 to 300. Candidates will need to earn a scaled score of at least 240 to pass an MTEL test, but the exact number of correct answers needed to earn this score is different for each assessment.

There are, however, the same types of questions on each exam. Aspiring teachers complete a series of multiple-choice questions followed by two prompts requiring them to develop a written response. Candidates receive a scaled score for each of these sections, and their overall test score represents a combination of these two scores.

Studying for the MTEL Exams

If you're planning on sitting for the MTEL exams, you should know that Study.com has several review guides and preparatory materials to help you get ready for test day.

This MTEL Communication & Literacy Skills: Practice & Study Guide provides a comprehensive walkthrough of the most commonly required MTEL exam. Study.com also has plenty of study guides related to individual subject matter tests, including:

Continue reading: MTEL Test Dates & Registration

This article looks at the typical test fee for MTEL exams, as well as some exams that charge different rates. The payment process is also explained along with accepted methods of payment.

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