MTEL General Curriculum Exam

The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure® (MTEL®) General Curriculum (3) is a mandatory assessment to obtain a Massachusetts Elementary educator license, though it may also be required for other licenses. Educators should check with educator licensure regulations to determine whether this is a requirement.

All tests are aligned with Massachusetts educator licensure regulations and the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks standards. In alignment with these standards, candidates that take the MTEL® are required to demonstrate proficiency and competence in a set of test objectives at least at the level that would be required for a baccalaureate major. For this reason, most candidates that take the MTEL® test have completed or are nearing completion of undergraduate work.

The MTEL® tests are designed to measure candidates’ knowledge of subject matter as appropriate for each respective test, including the General Curriculum (3). This measure helps identify candidates that meet the criterion necessary to success as an educator in a Massachusetts public school setting. Candidates are assessed via a set of test objectives that are organized by major content subareas.

How is the MTEL® General Curriculum (3) formatted?

All of the MTEL® tests are computer-based tests which contain multiple-choice and open-response items. On the MTEL® General Curriculum (3) test, these items are included in two separately administered and scored subtests: the multi-subject subtest and the mathematics subtest. Both of these subtests must be passed to obtain an educator license, though candidates have the option of taking one or both of the subtests at one testing appointment.

Both the multi-subject and mathematics subtests contain two sections, a multiple-choice section and a one-item open-response section. Candidates are given between 20 and 30 minutes to respond to the open-response item, which counts for 10% of the subtest score. The remaining 90% of the score is determined by performance on the multiple-choice section.

The MTEL® Multi-Subject Subtest

Subarea: Language Arts


History and structure of the English language

Literary genres, elements and techniques

American literature

Literature for children

Writing process and formal composition

Subarea: History and Social Science


Major developments in United States history and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Founding documents and governmental systems of the United States

Major developments and figures in world history

Geographic concepts, phenomena and processes

Subarea: Science and Technology/Engineering


Basic concepts and principles of life science, physical sciences and earth and space sciences

Foundations of scientific thought

Principles and procedures of scientific inquiry and experimentation

Subarea: Integration of Knowledge and Understanding


Analysis of a topic related to the subarea of History and Social Science of Science and Technology/Engineering

The MTEL® Mathematics Subtest

Subarea: Numbers and Operations


Number system and concept of place value

Integers, fractions, decimals, percents and mixed numbers

Principles of number theory

Operations on Numbers

Subarea: Functions and Algebra


Algebra as generalized arithmetic

Concept of function

Linear functions and equations

Subarea: Geometry and Measurement


Concepts of measurement and geometry

Subarea: Statistics and Probability


Descriptive statistics

Concepts of probability

Subarea: Integration of Knowledge and Understanding


Communicate multiple solutions for a problem involving two or more of the following subareas: Numbers and Operations, Functions and Algebra, Geometry and Measurement, and Statistics and Probability

How is the MTEL® scored?

Scoring of the MTEL® General Curriculum test is based on the candidate’s performance and ability to demonstrate their competence of the identified testing objectives. Scores are not compared with or based on the performance of other candidates. In order to successfully pass the test, candidates must achieve a scaled score of 240 or higher on both the Multi-Subject and Mathematics subtests. This minimum passing scores has been set by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The multiple-choice items are scored based on the number of items that are answered correctly. Some questions included on the test are placed only to gather information and may not be counted towards the score. The open-response items are scored based on an established set of characteristics and a scoring guide.

The total score combines these scores and is scaled for reporting in a range of 100 to 300. The MTEL® score report indicates whether or not the candidate received a qualifying score and their performance on each of the subareas of the test.

How Can I Prepare for the MTEL® General Curriculum (3) Test?

We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!

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Last Updated: August 1, 2019