When I decided to switch my major to teaching, I figured that there would be a couple of tests I would be required to take before I was able to become a certified teacher. What I didn’t realize was just how many tests I would need to take. Even after being in the program for a couple of years it has never been made super clear what tests and how many I will need to complete to receive licensure to teach in elementary (K-6) and special education (K-12) in the state of Minnesota. What is almost as important to realize, is how much it really costs to become a teacher. The following paragraphs will talk about the tests, costs, and time length of each test needed to become an elementary or special education teacher.
The first set of tests that is needed for all initial license no matter which license you are wishing to obtain is the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination (MTLE): Basic Skills Tests. The basic skills test, tests teacher candidates in the areas of reading (60 minutes), writing (105 minutes), and mathematics (75 minutes). The reading and mathematics tests are in a multiple-choice format and the writing is a mixture of multiple choice and constructed response questions. Each sub test costs $25 and must be passed with a minimum score of 240. This price does not include the annual $50 fee that must be paid in order to take the exam. The total cost to take the MTLE Basic Skills portion of the test is $125 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).
The next set of tests that is required for all teacher candidates is the MTLE Pedagogy Tests. There are two 60 minute subtests for each pedagogy test in the areas of early childhood, elementary, and secondary. Each subtest is multiple choice and costs $35 each. The total cost for this test if you have to pay the $50 annual fee is $120. If you don’t need to pay the annual fee then the cost would be $70. These tests must also be passed with a score of 240 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).
After the pedagogy tests, things start to get a little trickier because there are different licensure exams for various fields that are available. For right now I will just be focusing on the exams necessary for licensure in the field of elementary and special education.
To be certified to teach elementary education there are three different subtests that must be taken. All are called elementary education. Each test is an hour in length and costs $35. Each test is in a multiple-choice format and must be passed with a minimum score of 240. The total cost of these tests if you pay the annual fee is $155 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).
Finally to be certified as a special education teacher from ages birth to 12th grade you must take the “Special Education Core Skills” subtest. Each of these tests is 60 minutes in length and cost $35. Again if you have to pay the annual fee it is $120. This is also a multiple-choice test that needs to be passed with a minimum score of 240 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).
One of the very nice things about each of these tests is that each subtest can be taken separately. For instance, if you think that you will do better on the Basic Skills tests if you take the reading, writing, and math all on separate days then you can certainly do that! What is also great is that if you pass the reading and writing, but don’t pass the mathematics portion of the test, you only have to retake the mathematics portion not all three!
The edTPA or Teacher Performance Assessment is also a requirement. Since this is a much bigger topic I will discuss it in later posts. For more information on licensure exams for elementary and special education or on other teacher candidate licensure requirements visit http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/EdExc/Licen/index.html.