Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)

MTEL General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest: Amendment to Educator Licensure Regulations for Transition Period

To:Educator Preparation Program Contacts
From:David Haselkorn, Associate Commissioner
Center for Educator Policy, Preparation, Licensure, and Leadership Development
Date:May 21, 2009

In April 2007, the Board of Education (as it was then called) adopted amendments to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval for the purpose of strengthening the mathematics content knowledge and skills of prospective elementary and special education teachers. As a result, a new Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) General Curriculum test with a separately scored mathematics subtest was developed over the last two years and was administered for the first time on March 7, 2009. This week Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester set the qualifying score for the new test. At the same time, the Board approved an emergency amendment to the licensing regulations that establishes a transition period for implementation of the new General Curriculum math subtest. The amendment states that for the next three years, candidates who earn a scaled score of at least 227-239 on the General Curriculum math subtest will have passed the subtest for the purpose of their first stage of licensure. These candidates will have to retake the math subtest and earn a scaled score of 240 or above in order to renew their license or move up to the next stage of licensure. More detailed background information on the Commissioner's decision can be found in the background memo provided to the Board in advance of its May 19th meeting. Since the preliminary and initial licenses are valid for five years of employment, candidates will have five years in which to achieve the qualifying score of 240 on the math subtest and demonstrate that they have met the knowledge requirements of the license. At the end of three years (beginning in July 2012), all candidates for the elementary and special education licenses must score at 240 or above. The emergency amendment, which was passed unanimously, will be in effect for three months, during which time we will solicit and review public comment and then bring the regulation back to the Board for a final vote. Please go to the following link on the Department's website to access the public comment form: Attached is the November 2008 memo from Commissioner Chester that communicated important information about the new General Curriculum test requirement. Additional background information about the General Curriculum test, including the Guidelines for the Mathematical Preparation of Elementary Teachers and a test development summary, are available at: Please distribute this information to faculty and other staff who work with educator candidates. We look forward to collaborating with you in future efforts toward this transition to the new mathematics standard reflected in the General Curriculum test. Finally, we regret the delay in reporting test results for the March 7 administration of the General Curriculum test. The Commissioner and staff of the Department exercised great care in making the qualifying score determination, seeking both to uphold the standard that the Board had set and provide a reasonable transition period to allow institutions and prospective teachers to gear up to meet it. The need to seek an amendment to the regulations to effect this approach added additional, but unavoidable, delay. At this point in time, we anticipate that test results will be available for candidates and preparation programs by June 1. Incorporation of the results in the Educator Licensure and Recruitment (ELAR) system may be delayed as staff work to make necessary changes. Finally, we will continue to work closely with our colleagues in higher education and in the field to provide additional technical assistance to institutions and candidates to help prospective educators meet the new standard. As these efforts are finalized in the coming weeks we will communicate them to you. As important, we look forward to hearing your suggestions on how we can work collaboratively to raise the level of mathematics knowledge and skills of the Commonwealth's teachers and students.

Last Updated: May 27, 2009

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