MTEL Frequently Asked Questions
- Wheelock College's MTEL Policy
- General MTEL Test Administration
- Alternative Testing Accommodations
- After the Test
- The MTEL and Seeking Teacher Licensure
According to Massachusetts law and regulations, to receive a first Initial license to teach in Massachusetts public schools, you must complete a state approved program of study and pass the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL). The purpose of the series of tests called the MTEL is to ensure that each licensed educator has the knowledge and skills essential to teach in Massachusetts public schools.
MTEL Policy at Wheelock College:
All students in Wheelock educator licensure programs must meet the following requirements:
- Students in undergraduate educator licensure programs must pass the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test (including the Reading and Writing subtests) exam prior to registering for the first pre-practicum (Elementary Education) or practicum (Early Childhood and Special Education: Moderate Disabilities).
- Students in undergraduate educator licensure programs must pass the necessary MTEL subject matter exams prior to registering for their education capstone course.
- Graduate students in a master's degree program leading to educator licensure must pass the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills (including the Reading and Writing subtests) and licensure-specific subject exam(s), including the Foundations of Reading test (if required), prior to registering for the appropriate Capstone course. Please note eligibility for summer Capstone requires that you have passed all required sections.
- Students in graduate educator licensure programs not leading to a master's degree are required to pass the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test, as well as the necessary licensure-specific subject matter exams prior to entrance into their program. These students do not need to pass the Foundations of Reading test before entering their program, but will need to pass it prior to registering for their Capstone course.
The College has a system of support for students preparing for the MTEL test. There is a sequence of test preparation support sessions or courses that should enhance a students' ability to perform well on the MTEL. Students have an obligation to work with faculty members and advisors to develop a preparation plan that utilizes the College's resources and offers students maximum opportunity for timely success on the MTEL.
Where is the MTEL given?
The MTEL is offered in six areas in Massachusetts: Boston area, Greater Boston-Northern, Greater Boston-Southern, Central Massachusetts, Springfield area, and North Adams. On some dates, the MTEL is also administered out-of-state in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
When is the MTEL given?
The MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills Test is administered approximately seven times each year. The various Subject Matter Tests are administered five times each year. Consult the test vendor website for the most current information on test administrations: www.mtel.nesinc.org. All Wheelock undergraduate and graduate students in programs that require the MTEL must consider the current test dates. Determine as you begin your program when each MTEL test needs to be taken in relation to your academic map or program of study. Your academic advisor can assist you in making an individualized MTEL test plan.
Which Wheelock undergraduate and graduate programs require MTEL tests, and which tests are required?
Undergraduate Education Programs that require MTEL tests include:
- Early Childhood Inclusive Classroom Teacher (PreK-2): Communication and Literacy Skills Test (both the reading and writing subtests); Foundations of Reading Test; and the Early Childhood Subject Test
- Elementary Teacher (1-6) Major: Communication and Literacy Skills Test (both the reading and writing subtests); Foundations of Reading Test; and the General Curriculum Test (both Subtest I and Subtest II unless you have already passed the former General Curriculum Test version offered before January 1, 2009).
- Special Education Major - Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8): Communication and Literacy Skills Test (both the reading and writing subtests); Foundations of Reading Test; and the General Curriculum Test (both Subtest I and Subtest II unless you have already passed the former General Curriculum Test version offered before January 1, 2009).
Graduate Education Programs that require MTEL tests include:
- Early Childhood Teacher (PreK-2): Communication and Literacy Skills Test (both the reading and writing subtests); Foundations of Reading Test; and the Early Childhood Subject Test
- Elementary Teacher Master's Program (1-6): Communication and Literacy Skills Test (both the reading and writing subtests); Foundations of Reading Test; and the General Curriculum Test (both Subtest I and Subtest II unless you have already passed the former General Curriculum Test version offered before January 1, 2009).
- Special Education Master's - Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8) Program: Communication and Literacy Skills Test (both the reading and writing subtests); Foundations of Reading Test; and the General Curriculum Test (both Subtest I and Subtest II unless you have already passed the former General Curriculum Test version offered before January 1, 2009).
- Teacher of Reading (All Levels), an advanced specialist master's program: Communication and Literacy Skills Test (both the reading and writing subtests); Teacher of Reading Subtest.
Note that Undergraduate Child Development Specialist Program and the Graduate Care and Education Master's Program do not have MTEL requirements, although they are also nationally recognized programs that lead to a teacher credential from the MA Department of Early Education and Care.
When do I take the separate MTEL tests?
Undergraduate Wheelock students, transfer students, and graduate students are advised to follow this test taking plan:
- Take each subtest separately on a different test date unless you have no difficulty taking timed standardized tests. It costs more to register for each test separately. However, the total personal cost is usually reduced by higher test scores when students devote more time to the individual preparation and taking of each test.
- Use the test objectives found online at www.mtel.nesinc.org to prepare for each test. Pay attention to each element under every test objective. Take notes, define terms, prepare thoroughly, and pass each test.
- Take the Communication and Literacy Skills Reading and Writing Subtests as soon as you are prepared to pass each subtest. First year students should take these two subtests (separately, if needed) as or after they complete ENG 111. The WLCE helps with preparation for the MTEL, but you do not need to wait until you pass the WLCE to take the MTEL. Passing scores on the MTEL exempt undergraduate students from passing the WLCE.
- Transfer and graduate students should attend a test prep support session and begin taking the Reading and Writing Subtests as soon as they apply to or enter Wheelock College. (See previous section on MTEL Prep Support Sessions.)
- Take the Foundations of Reading Test as or immediately after you complete your second reading course and after the 7-session test prep sequence offered by the Language and Literacy Faculty. (Graduate students might need to prepare for this test following their first reading class.) Register in the portal for ACD 310 (undergraduates), or ACD 510 for post- baccalaureate students (for support needed to use course content to take the test).
- Undergraduates take the Early Childhood Subject Test in the junior year, or in the summer or fall of the senior year. Register appropriately in the portal for ACD 306, or 506 for post-baccalaureate students, and take advantage of Early Childhood Subject Test Prep Support.
- Undergraduates take the General Curriculum Subtests I and II in the junior year after completing most of the general education requirements. Taking the test preparation support is important, in addition to personal preparation using the test objectives and practice tests found on the website at www.mtel.nesinc.org.
Note: The same licensure-specific test requirements apply to undergraduate and graduate students and to all teacher applicants.
How do I register to take the MTEL?
You can register online at the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure website (www.mtel.nesinc.org) or by mailing in a registration form. Registration forms are available in the MTEL Registration Bulletins are available in the Study Lounge (Library, 2nd Floor); and also from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in downloadable format at the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure website or by phone at 413-256-2892. Special note: students can register for succeeding MTEL test administrations by calling 413-256-2892
What if I need to re-take a section, but the registration deadline for the next test administration falls before the test scores are due to come back?
Along with your score report, you will receive information about re-registering for an exam. If the test score mail date for the previous test administration falls after the registration deadline for the next test administration, you will still be able to register for the exam without being charged a late registration fee.
How do I know if I am eligible to register for alternative testing arrangements? If I am eligible how do I register?
The Massachusetts Department of Education lists the following criteria for test takers who can be eligible for alternative testing arrangements:
- Candidates whose religious practices do not allow them to test on Saturdays;
- Candidates with physical disabilities(e.g., visual impairments, motor disabilities, illness, or injury); or
- Candidates with disabilities other than physical
Requests for test administration modifications must specifically relate to an appropriate documented disability and must be reasonable in the context of the licensure test. To submit a request for alternative testing arrangements, you will need to submit an "Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form" by mail preferably by the regular registration deadline. This form is available in the MTEL Registration Bulletin. Once your request has been reviewed, you will receive notification from the testing company.
If you have documentation filed with the Office of Academic Advising and Assistance and have further questions about your documentation and how it relates to registering for the MTEL, please contact our Coordinator of Disability Services Rachel Buday at email@example.com.
What if I need to re-take a section, but the registration deadline for the next test administration falls before the test scores are due to come back? If the test score mail date for the previous test administration falls after the registration deadline for the next test administration, you will still be able to register to re-take the exam you did not pass without being charged a late or emergency registration fee. In this case, you must register by the Emergency Registration Deadline, or you will not be able to take advantage of this waiver. Other things to consider:
- This waiver does not apply to cases of students waiting to receive their test scores for one exam before registering for a new exam. If you are waiting for your scores to be returned for one section, but want to register for a future test administration, you are encouraged to register for the upcoming test you want to take by the regular registration deadline.
- If you need alternative testing arrangements, and are registering on consecutive test dates, be sure to contact 413-256-2892 immediately if you need to re-take a section.
How do I have the test re-scored?
If you are not satisfied with your test score, you may have your test re-scored by submitting a written request (including your name and test date). You will be charged a $25 fee for this service. When the test is re-scored, keep in mind that the testing company is re-scoring multiple choice items only. When open-response items were initially reviewed, there were at least two scorers reviewing your exam, so the testing company's position is that the grades remain. Therefore, your paying for a re-score applies to multiple choice items only.
What do I do with my scores? Does Wheelock need to see those scores?
Each program has specific dates by which certain parts of the MTEL need to be passed. In order to be eligible for entrance into certain required coursework, you will need to show passage of the required MTEL exam(s) for that particular gateway. We ask that you select Wheelock College as a recipient of your test scores when you register for the test. If the college does not receive the official scores, you will need to bring your official score report to officials in the Office for Records and Registration on first floor in ACW (the registrar's office).
How do I apply for a credential from the MA Department of Early Education and Care?
Click here to read instructions and the application online. Scroll down and click on the link: Professional Qualifications. [Note the EEC website now directs inquiries about qualifications for teaching in public preschools to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education re: the Early Childhood Teacher of Students with and without Disabilities (PreK-2) license.]
Applying for the Initial license from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: I have completed all the sections of the MTEL that are required of my program, does that mean I am licensed? What do I need to do from here?
Passage of the MTEL alone is not enough to obtain licensure. The first Initial license for PreK-12 public school teachers in Massachusetts must be obtained through completion of a state-approved educator preparation program. The license is issued by the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, not Wheelock College. Students who are completing a state approved program apply 3-4 weeks before their final class ends. They must apply online before the institutional endorsement can be valid. Institutional endorsement is submitted online upon program completion and final transcript review. Apply online at www.doe.mass.edu/educators. Know the name and level of the license; for example, Initial (the level) Early Childhood Teacher of Students with and without Disabilities, PreK-2 (the name and age/grade level of the license). Have your credit card, your social security number, and your permanent address available as you follow these directions. The application is not complete until payment is made.
- Log on to www.doe.mass.edu and select ELAR from the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the screen.
- Follow these steps and apply for the correct license at the Initial level (unless you hold a first license, have taught for three years, and you have completed the requirements to advance that initial license to the Professional level).
- Step one: Every new teacher who completed a state approved program applies for Initial licensure.
- Step two: Sign a Wheelock authorization form, asking for recommendation or endorsement to the state department for your license. Endorsement is a process designed by the state and by which the college states that a candidate has completed a program approved for licensure. The Registrar and Licensure Officer work together to send a packet of materials, including your official transcript with a statement of institutional endorsement, to the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The packet also includes evidence of your practicum and other required information (birthday and social security number). The authorization form is available online through the portal and must be submitted in order for the college to know you are applying for the license and need endorsement.
How long can I teach under an Initial license and how do I obtain Professional licensure?
The Initial license is good for 5 years of practice, and the clock begins ticking when you take a position that requires the license. Within three to five years after you begin teaching under your Initial license, you can advance that Initial license to the Professional level.
Teachers who received their Initial license through an undergraduate program usually complete a master's degree approved for Professional licensure as they continue their professional development. Wheelock College has three twelve credit clusters that are approved by the state for this purpose and can be integrated within any master's degree at the college. Teachers who obtain their Initial license through a master's degree program can advance that license to the Professional level by completing a 12 credit cluster of advanced course work that is approved by the state for that purpose. Wheelock offers state approved 12-credit clusters in ELL/ESL, Reading, and Special Education. See below for more information
Wheelock College offers state-approved 12-credit clusters for Professional licensure.
The state-approved 12-credit clusters of advanced course work at Wheelock College and the licenses they advance. No further MTEL test is required to advance an Initial license to the Professional level. All other state requirements must be met, including mentoring and three years of teaching under the Initial license.
- The Wheelock ESL/ELL (English as a Second Language/English Language Learners) 12-credit cluster advances an Early Childhood, Elementary, or Moderate Disabilities, license to the Professional level
- The Wheelock Special Education 12-credit cluster advances an Early Childhood, Elementary, or ESL license to the Professional level. (add link to the special education cluster in the catalog or admissions flyer)
- The Wheelock Reading 12-credit cluster advances an Early Childhood, Elementary, ESL, or Moderate Disabilities Initial License to the Professional level. (add link to reading cluster in the catalog or admissions flyer)
Are Wheelock alumni required to take this test when they apply for recertification or for licensure in a new field?
Teachers who have Initial Licensure are not required to re-take the MTEL in order to advance an Initial license to the Professional level. Licensure in a new field usually requires only a passing score on the new subject area test. Three exceptions are the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Moderate Disabilities licenses, which require an additional 150 hour practicum or practicum equivalent. Teachers with Professional Licensure do not have to re-take or take new MTEL tests when they renew the Professional License every five years.
For more information on renewing a first initial license or for access to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE, formerly the MA Department of Education). The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Or download the Re-certification Guidelines found on the DESE website.