This is an update regarding the Secondary Mathematics and Middle School Mathematics MTEL Qualifying Scores. These updated tests are aligned with the 2017 Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks, ensuring that licensure candidates demonstrate the acceptable level of knowledge and skills relative to these critical subject matter knowledge expectations. The Qualifying Score Conferences (QSC) for both of these MTELs occurred the week of July 26th, completing the qualifying score process. For more information about the qualifying score process, please see below.
During the QSCs, the panels considered the performance of candidates who took the revised tests and provided recommendations for the qualifying scores, i.e., the cut scores for the tests. The Department then received a report from Evaluation Systems Group (ES) of Pearson with the recommended cut scores for each MTEL for the Commissioner to consider based on the panel recommendations as well as candidate performance on the tests.
While the Commissioner has determined that the panel-recommended cut scores for the Secondary Mathematics and Middle School Mathematics MTELs reflect the appropriate level of subject matter knowledge required of a first year teacher in a mathematics classroom, he has approved a phase-in approach to adopting the panel-recommended cut scores for both the Secondary Mathematics and Middle School Mathematics MTELs. During the phase-in, the cut score for the multiple-choice section on each test will be set at one standard error of measurement below (-1 SEM) the panel-recommended cut score, while prep programs and test prep organizations continue to strengthen their programs of study in alignment with updated expectations. The Commissioner will review test administration data regularly over the next year to make a determination about the appropriate time to move to the panel recommended cut score.
Candidates who pass during this phase-in period with a cut score one SEM below the panel-recommended cut score will not need to retake the test once the period is over. The information available via score reports to candidates will continue to be reported in the format of scaled scores, and this formatting will not change during this interim period.
We will provide further updates as they become available.
The purpose of the qualifying score process (i.e., standard setting) for a licensure test is to determine the passing score that a candidate must achieve to demonstrate the acceptable level of knowledge and skills required to perform the activities in which the license allows the candidate to engage. The task of determining the acceptable score involves a panel of experts whose judgments on the recommended standard are presented to the governing agency.
A qualifying score (also called a "cut score") is a score on a test that reflects the boundary line, as determined by the state, between candidates who satisfy the testing component of state requirements for teacher licensure and those who do not. The qualifying score for each updated MTEL subject matter knowledge test is determined by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education (Commissioner) with input from licensed and practicing educators and others with expertise in the field who provided professional judgments concerning the performance on the test of "just acceptably qualified candidates" entering teaching in Massachusetts public schools.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
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TTY: (800) 439-2370
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