Read an Excerpt
Passing the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills Test
If you’re a teacher candidate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this REA test preparation book is designed expressly with you and your needs in mind. This book will help you pass the latest computer- or paper-based version of the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills Test (Field 01). It is composed of two subtests: reading and writing. Our book provides targeted review material for both subtests, along with three full-length practice tests. These practice tests contain the very types of questions you can expect to encounter on the actual MTEL exam. Following each of our model tests, you will find an answer key with detailed explanations designed to help you master the test material.
ABOUT THE TEST
Who takes the test and what is it used for?
The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure must be taken by individuals seeking certification to teach in Massachusetts. Prospective teachers are required to take and pass two tests: a two-part test in communication and literacy skills and an additional test in the subject of the candidate’s chosen area of certification.
Who administers the test?
The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Education and Pearson Education, Inc. A comprehensive test development process was designed and implemented specifically to ensure that the content and difficulty level of the exam is appropriate.
When and where is the test given?
The MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills Test is administered 10 times a year at various locations across the state. Specific information regarding test sites will be given upon registration for the tests. To receive information on upcoming test dates and locations, you may wish to contact the test administrator as follows:
Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure
Evaluation Systems, Pearson
30 Gatehouse Road
P.O. Box 660
Amherst, MA 01004-9013
Telephone: (413) 256-2892 or (866) 565-4894
Fax: (413) 256-7077
Always monitor the website for the latest information and updates.
Is there a registration fee?
To take the Communication and Literacy Skills Test, you must pay a fee. A complete summary of the registration fees is included in your registration bulletin.
When will I receive my score report?
Your score report should arrive about five weeks after you take the test. No scoring information will be given via telephone or fax. Remember, the data on your score report will reflect your scaled score, not the number of questions you have answered correctly.
All tests are reported on the same scale, and will not be compared to the score of any other examinees. You can view unofficial test results on the MTEL website at 5:00 p.m. on the score report days.
To receive a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills Test, you must attain a qualifying score on both the reading and writing subtests. If you do not pass one or both of the subtests, you will be able to register again for the necessary section(s).
Format of the Communication and Literacy Skills Test
The subject area tests are designed to assess your knowledge of the subject for the certificate sought. The Communication and Literacy Skills Test is designed to ensure your ability to effectively convey that knowledge to a student and to communicate with a student’s family.
The reading subtest of the Communication and Literacy Skills Test is composed of multiple-choice questions relating to reading passages and open-ended vocabulary questions, while the writing subtest consists of multiple-choice questions on grammar and usage and written mechanics, as well as a written summary, and written composition. The full test is 4 hours long.
STUDYING FOR THE COMMUNICATION AND LITERACY SKILLS TEST
There is no one correct way to study for the Communication and Literacy Skills Test. You must find the method that works best for you. Some test-takers prefer to set aside a few hours every morning to study, while others prefer to study at night before going to sleep.
Only you can determine when and where your study time will be most effective. To help you budget your time, refer to the study schedule which appears at the end of this chapter. When taking the practice tests you should try to duplicate the actual testing conditions as closely as possible. Keep in mind that the Communication and Literacy Skills Test is four hours long. It will be helpful to time yourself when you take the practice tests so you will have a better idea of how much time to spend on each section of the actual exam. A quiet, well-lit room, free from such distractions as the television or radio, is preferable.
As you complete each practice test, thoroughly review the explanations. Keep track of the number of correct answers you receive on each test so you can gauge your progress accurately, and develop a clear sense of where you need improvement.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
When should I start studying?
An eight-week study schedule is provided in this text to assist you in preparing for the exam. This schedule can be adjusted to meet your unique needs. If your test date is only four weeks away, you can halve the time allotted to each section; keep in mind, however, that this is not the most effective way to study. If you have several months before your test date, you may wish to extend the time allotted to each section. Remember, the more time you spend studying, the better your chances of achieving your aim—a passing score on the MTEL.
About the review sections
By using our review material in conjunction with our practice tests, you should be well prepared for the actual Communication and Literacy Skills Test. At some point in your educational experience, you have probably studied all the material that makes up this test. For many candidates, however, this may have been some time ago. REA’s targeted reviews will serve to refresh your memory of these topics, and our practice tests will help you gauge which areas need additional study and practice.
ABOUT THE PRACTICE TESTS
How Do I Score My Practice Test?
The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure have a score range of 0-100 points for all tests. You must achieve a minimum of 70 to pass the exam. Your total score will derive from a combination of all test sections.
According to administrators of the MTEL, the reading subtest of the Communication and Literacy Skills Test contains approximately 30 multiple-choice items and six open-response items, while the writing subtest contains approximately 14 multiple-choice items and six to nine open-response items. Our practice tests approximate the number of questions you will encounter on the actual exam. Because MTEL test forms vary, we cannot provide score conversions for the practice tests. It is safe to assume, however, that a score of 70 percent on each section equates with a passing score. It may be helpful to have a friend or colleague score your practice test essays, since you will benefit from his or her ability to be more objective in judging the clarity and organization
If you do not achieve a passing score on your first practice test, don’t worry. Review those sections with which you have had the most difficulty, and try the second practice test and later, the third test. With each practice test, you will sharpen the skills you need to pass the actual exam.
Although you may have taken standardized tests like the Communication and Literacy Skills Test before, it is crucial that you become familiar with the format and content of each section of this exam. This will help to alleviate any anxiety about your performance. Following are several ways to help you become accustomed to the test.
➤ Become comfortable with the format of the test. The Communication and Literacy Skills Test covers a great deal of information, and the more comfortable you are with the format, the more confidence you will have when you take the actual exam. If you familiarize yourself with the requirements of each section individually, the whole test will be much less intimidating.
➤ Read all of the possible answers. Even if you believe you have found the correct answer, read all four options. Often answers that look right at first prove to be "magnet responses" meant to distract you from the correct choice.
➤ Eliminate obviously incorrect answers. In this way, even if you do not know the correct answer, you can make an educated guess.
➤ Work quickly and steadily. Remember, you will have to write a composition for the writing subtest. You need more time to compose a clear, concise, well-constructed essay than you need to answer a multiple-choice question, so don’t spend too much time on any one item. Try to pace yourself. If you feel that you are spending too much time on any one question, mark the answer choice that you think is most likely the correct one, circle the item number in your test booklet, and return to it if time allows. Timing yourself while you take the practice tests will help you learn to use your time wisely.
➤ Be sure that the circle you are marking corresponds to the number of the question in the test booklet. The multiple-choice sections of the test are graded by a computer, which has no sympathy for clerical errors. One incorrectly placed response can upset your entire score.
THE DAY OF THE TEST
Try to get a good night’s rest, and wake up early on the day of the test. You should have a
good breakfast so you will not be distracted by hunger. Dress in layers that can be removed or applied as the conditions of the testing center require.
The Communication and Literacy Skills Test has a reporting time of 7:45 a.m., but you should plan to arrive early. This will allow you to become familiar with your surroundings in the testing center, and minimize the possibility of distraction during the test. The testing time is four hours. You may register for one subtest or both for the one test session.
Before you leave for the testing center, make sure you have any admissions material you may need, two pieces of identification, one must be a current government issued photo identification and sharpened No. 2 pencils. Pencils will not be supplied at the test site.
For the Communication and Literacy Skills subtests, a calculator is neither necessary nor permitted. No eating, drinking, or smoking will be permitted during the test, but if you are scheduled for both the morning and afternoon test sessions, you may want to bring food to eat in the interim.
As part of the identification process, your thumbprint will be taken. If you refuse to do so, you will not be allowed to take the test and will lose any fees paid.