The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) were created by the Massachusetts Department of Education. The criterion-referenced assessments are part of the mandatory requirements for becoming a licensed teacher in the state, and are designed for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers. Each MTEL test has a different standard for the score needed to pass. Once candidates pass the tests, the scores do not expire. Candidates may take tests over again if unsuccessful.

Each MTEL test assessment has been created to get an account of the candidate’s knowledge and skill in specific teaching areas. The four assessment categories are:

  • Communication and literacy skills test – Assesses both reading and writing. In reading, candidates will be assessed using multiple-choice and vocabulary questions. The writing assessment areas include synopsis, creating a written work, language and convention rules, and technical aspects of writing. Candidates must be able to read and understand passages, evaluate what is read, arrange writing material in an essay, outline and sum up, gather data from charts, and demonstrate understanding of words, language rules and conventional writing.
  • Academic (Pre-K – 12) subject matter tests – These assessments are in multiple-choice and written response format. Candidates will be tested on comprehension and knowledge about the subject in question. Tests are based on what a public school teacher in Massachusetts is expected to know. There are many different tests in this category; some examples are music, physical education, general curriculum or German.
  • Vocational technical literary skills test – This MTEL test assessment includes both reading and writing. In the reading section, the test is in multiple-choice format. For writing, candidates must write a summary, write a composition, and answer multiple-choice items about writing conventions. Candidates must be able to understand and evaluate what is read, arrange thoughts on paper, outline and sum up, and understand words, grammar and traditional conventions. Adult basic education test – This test is in multiple-choice and written response format. Candidates must be able to problem-solve and write out answers. The choices for this test include: English language arts, English for speakers of other languages, math, history and social science, or science.


Last Updated: June 4, 2019