Before taking a test, the candidate should understand the objectives and general content of the test and be familiar with the type of questions asked and the weighted importance of each. The following is a brief summary of the tests in the MTEL® program.
The Communication and Literacy Skills test has two subtests: reading and writing. The reading subtest poses questions to determine the meaning of words and phrases using context clues. Other questions explore ways to recognize and understand the main idea and supporting details and which is which along with methods of identifying the writer’s purpose, point of view and intended meaning. It requires the use of critical thinking skills to analyze ideas and arguments and to determine the validity and importance of the facts presented. The ability to summarize and interpret graphic data, take notes, outline material, follow instructions, and understand charts and tables is also tested.
The writing subtest measures the ability to recognize the intended audience, maintain unity and focus on the subject matter, organize the information effectively, offer relevant supporting data, and develop the topic in a logical, easy-to-understand style. Writing samples are judged on the candidate’s ability to use grammar and punctuation properly, transition smoothly from one idea or paragraph to the next, and conformance with recognized standards of American English usage.
The Academic tests are each a little different depending upon the particular subject matter but all require in-depth knowledge and understanding of the topic and the ability to discuss and analyze each subarea thoroughly.
The Vocational, Technical Literacy Skills test has two subtests: reading and writing. The reading subtest poses questions to determine the meaning of common words based on the context in which they appear; the ability to recognize common misused words (its/it’s to/too); and knowledge of synonyms and antonyms. Other questions explore ways to understand the main idea and supporting details and which are which, and methods of identifying the writer’s purpose, point of view, and intended meaning. The ability to identify the sequence of events, recognize cause and effect, understand the relevance of the data used and determine the difference between opinion and fact, and then come to a conclusion based on the information presented, is another aspect of the test. The candidate is also required to know how to read and interpret charts, graphs, and tables and have the ability to summarize and outline information.
The writing subtest measures the ability to recognize the intended audience, maintain unity and focus on the subject matter, organize the information effectively, offer relevant supporting data, and develop the topic in a logical, easy-to-understand style. Writing samples are judged on the candidate’s ability to use grammar and punctuation properly, transition smoothly from one idea or paragraph to the next, and conformance with recognized standards of American English usage. Knowledge of spelling, capitalization, correct use of the parts of speech, and sentence structure are some of the topics tested.
The Adult Basic Education test has five subtests: English language arts, English for speakers of other languages, math, history and social science, and science. The candidate is also tested on the ability to apply knowledge and understanding of the subject matter by writing an essay that evaluates and analyzes a subarea of adult basic education (ABE).
The English language arts subtest addresses the process of writing a composition, proper grammar, formal and informal styles, parts of speech, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Other questions concern literary genres, elements of fiction, and literary devices and how they affect the meaning and message of the piece of literature being studied. There are also questions about the theories, practices and strategies of how adult learners develop reading skills and methods instructors can use to facilitate and encourage that development.
The English for Speakers of Other Languages subtest requires knowledge of general language acquisition, the stages of learning and how long each lasts, the difference between interpersonal communication and academic proficiency, cognitive processes, and how knowledge of one language affects learning a second. It also looks at how family mores, cultural influences, and personal factors such as age, motivation, and learning styles affect the process. There are also questions on linguistics and the challenge of learning all the variations of a very complex language.
The math subtest evaluates the candidate’s understanding of number sense and basic mathematical operations. Questions concerning place value, prime and composite numbers, integers, fractions, ratios, and scientific notation are integrated with ones related to operational functions. Understanding basic algebraic concepts, symbols, expressions, equations, and the real-world applications of these functions is necessary. Knowledge of and the ability to use geometric shapes and measurements and the application of these tools to determine area and volume is tested. The ability to understand and analyze data, statistics, and probability and how use these concepts to function day-to-day are also addressed.
The history and social science subtests evaluate the candidate’s understanding of the chronology, characteristics, and contributions of Massachusetts, United States, and world civilizations. Questions concern major developments such as the agriculture, scientific, industrial, and information revolutions and how they impacted the human population. There are questions about politics, economics, internal and external conflicts. and societal changes, as well as specific people who had a significant effect on their particular time in history. The candidate is tested on the basic concepts upon which the United States was founded and how various government institutions operate. A basic understanding of geography and the physical features of the earth and knowledge of how these factors influenced the growth and death of various civilizations throughout history is needed.
The science subtest requires knowledge and understanding of the basic principles and concepts of the physical and life sciences, how they interact with and against each other and their impact on human life. and how humans affect the earth and her ecosystems. Subjects covered include biology, chemistry and physics and several of their specialized categories. An understanding of the process of scientific inquiry is required as well as knowledge about and the ability to explain each step in the process.
Last Updated: 04/23/2012