Everything You Need to Know About the MTEL-Flex Assessments

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Curious about the new MTEL-Flex exams? Wondering if you qualify for these exams or if you should take one? You’re in the right place. In this article we’ll go over the basics of the MTEL-Flex exams, including who qualifies, what topics are covered, and how the exams are formatted. We’ll also discuss registration, scoring, and how to prepare for the MTEL-Flex.

What is the MTEL-Flex?

The MTEL-Flex is an alternative testing option available for Massachusetts teacher candidates who have taken but not passed certain MTEL exams. Rather than retaking a traditional MTEL content exam, test-takers can demonstrate their knowledge by submitting a written* analysis of an MTEL test objective.

*Candidates taking the MTEL-Flex Spanish (913) exam will submit a video response.

Who Can Take the MTEL-Flex?

MTEL-Flex exams are available to test-takers whose score on an MTEL content exam was within one standard error of measurement to the passing score. The specific qualifying scores for each MTEL-Flex exam are listed below.

Note that these are not MTEL-Flex passing scores, but rather the scores you need on a previously taken MTEL exam to qualify for the MTEL-Flex option.

MTEL-Flex ExamQualifying Score
MTEL-Flex: English (900 & 901)scaled score between 230 – 239 on the English (61) exam
MTEL-Flex: English as a Second Language (902 & 903)scaled score between 229 – 239 on the English as a Second Language (54) exam
MTEL-Flex: Foundations of Reading (904 & 905)scaled score between 231 – 239 on the Foundations of Reading (190) exam
MTEL-Flex General Curriculum Multi-Subject Subtest (906 & 907)scaled score between 227 and 239 on the General Curriculum (03) Multi-Subject Subtest
MTEL-Flex: MTEL-Flex General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest (908 & 909)scaled score between 227 and 239 on the General Curriculum (03) Mathematics Subtest
MTEL-Flex History (910 & 911)scaled score between 231 and 239 on the History (06) exam
MTEL-Flex Spanish (912 & 913)scaled score between 229 and 239 on the Spanish (28) exam

You also need to have taken your MTEL content exam on or after October 20, 2020. If you took your exam prior to this date, you’ll need to retake the traditional MTEL content exam for your desired teaching certification.

Which Exams Are Available as an MTEL-Flex Option?

The MTEL-Flex is only offered for certain content areas. For each of the following content exams, there are two MTEL-Flex options that you can choose to take. You do not need to take both MTEL-Flex exams for your selected content area.

Traditional MTEL Content ExamCorresponding MTEL-Flex Options

(choose one for each content area)

English (61)MTEL-Flex English (900) – Written Analysis of Literary or Informational Text (Objective 0014)


MTEL-Flex English (901) – Written Analysis of an Argument (Objective 0015)

English as a Second Language (54)MTEL-Flex English as a Second Language (902) – Written Analysis of Literary or Informational Text (Objective 0005)


MTEL-Flex English as a Second Language (903) – Written Analysis of an Argument (Objective 0008)

Foundations of Reading (190)MTEL-Flex Foundations of Reading (904) – (Objective 0010)


MTEL-Flex Foundations of Reading (905) – (Objective 0011)

General Curriculum (03) Multi-Subject SubtestMTEL-Flex General Curriculum Multi-Subject (906) – (Objective 0006)


MTEL-Flex General Curriculum Multi-Subject (907) – (Objective 0010)

General Curriculum (03) Mathematics SubtestMTEL-Flex General Curriculum Mathematics (908) – (Objective 0019)


MTEL-Flex General Curriculum Mathematics (909) – (Objective 0020)

History (06)MTEL-Flex History (910) – (Objective 0002)


MTEL-Flex History (911) – (Objective 0014)

Spanish (28)MTEL-Flex Spanish (912) – (Objective 0013)


MTEL-Flex Spanish (913) –  (Objective 0014)

What Topics Are Covered On The MTEL-Flex Exams?

While traditional MTEL exams cover a broad range of topics and skills, each MTEL-Flex exam covers a specific subset of topics related to the exam subject.

In the previous table, you’ll see that each MTEL-Flex exam is followed by an objective number. This number comes from the corresponding MTEL exam. For example, the MTEL-Flex Foundations of Reading (904) exam covers Objective 0010 from the traditional MTEL Foundations of Reading (190) exam.

Each objective includes a broad objective followed by a list of descriptive statements. For example, Objective 0010 from the Foundations of Reading exam is listed as:

Objective 0010: Prepare an organized, developed analysis on a topic related to the development of foundational reading skills.

    1. Analyze, interpret, and discuss accurately and appropriately the results of an assessment of foundational reading skills for an individual student.

Demonstrate the ability to select appropriate examples from a student’s reading performance that identify a strength and a need related to foundational reading skills (e.g., phonemic awareness skills, phonics skills, recognition of high-frequency words, syllabication skills, morphemic analysis skills, automaticity, reading fluency [i.e., accuracy, rate, and prosody]).

Demonstrate the ability to select and accurately describe an appropriate, effective instructional strategy, activity, intervention, or extension to build on a student’s identified strength or address a student’s identified need in foundational reading skills.

Demonstrate the ability to explain the effectiveness of the selected instructional strategy, activity, intervention, or extension in building on a student’s identified strength and/or addressing a student’s identified need, using sound reasoning and knowledge of foundational reading skills.

The objective and descriptive statements are the concepts and skills you will focus on when writing your MTEL-Flex response.

What Will My MTEL-Flex Exam Look Like?

Aside from the MTEL-Flex Spanish (913) exam, all other MTEL-Flex exams consist of four brief prompts followed by a written analysis of a specific topic or concept.

The four prompts are used to provide a background, purpose, and overview of your main written response. The prompts follow this general framework:

    1. Identify the specific descriptive statements from the objective that will be addressed in your written response.

This prompt varies, but typically provides further instruction for your main response and allows you to establish an overview and purpose for your essay.

Describe the topic you will address in your response.

List the sources that you used to prepare your written response.

Following these four prompts, you will type your main response into a provided space. Your response should be single-spaced, Arial 11-point font, and no more than three pages.

The MTEL-Flex Spanish (913) template follows a similar format and begins with the same four prompts. However, instead of typing a written analysis for your main response, you will submit a 4 to 5 minute video file of your oral response. Specific instructions on how to do this are included in the exam template and the MTEL-Flex Handbook.

The following links provide sample completed templates for each MTEL-Flex exam. These sample templates do not include a written response for the main portion of the exam, but can still provide you with an idea of what to expect and how to respond to the four prompts.

MTEL-Flex English Sample Template

MTEL-Flex English as a Second Language Sample Template

MTEL-Flex Foundations of Reading Sample Template

MTEL-Flex General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest Sample Template

MTEL-Flex General Curriculum Multi-Subject Subtest Sample Template

MTEL-Flex History Sample Template

MTEL-Flex Spanish Sample Template

To view the official template for your exam, choose your exam from this page, then click the link to view the assessment and preparation materials.

How Do I Register for an MTEL-Flex Exam?

To register for an MTEL-Flex exam, enter your email address and password on the MTEL registration page. You should already have an account from when you took your MTEL exam. If you qualify for an MTEL-Flex exam, it will automatically be available to you as a registration option. If you do not have an MTEL-Flex exam available when registering for a test, this means you do not meet the qualifications for this option.

Follow the prompts to register and pay for your MTEL-Flex exam. Registration fees range from $49 – $69 depending on which MTEL-Flex exam you are taking.

After registering, you will download your exam template and type your responses into the template. When you have completed your response, you will upload the electronic template to the Pearson ePortfolio system.

Your deadline for submitting your final exam will depend on when you wish to receive your score report. For most* MTEL-Flex exams, there is usually one submission deadline per month. Scores are typically released about three to four weeks after the submission deadline. For example, to get your MTEL-Flex English score report by January 27th, you will need to submit your final written response by January 5th.

To check the official deadlines and score report dates for your MTEL-Flex exam, choose your exam from this page and click on the link for score report release dates.

*Scores for the MTEL-Flex Spanish exams are released less frequently, with score report dates occurring every two to three months.

How Are The MTEL-Flex Exams Scored?

MTEL-Flex exams are assessed by trained scorers using a scoring rubric. Each submission is evaluated by two different scorers. If there is a difference between these two scores, a third scorer will also evaluate the response. There is no rescoring process for MTEL-Flex exams, which means your final reported score cannot be reevaluated. However, you can retake the MTEL-Flex exam as many times as needed.

The trained exam scorers use a rubric to determine your score. For MTEL-Flex exams other than Spanish, submissions are scored in four different areas or performance characteristics:

    • Purpose: The extent to which the response achieves the purpose of the assignment

Subject Matter Knowledge: Accuracy and appropriateness in the application of subject matter knowledge

Support: Quality and relevance of supporting details

Rationale: Soundness of argument and degree of understanding of the subject matter

Each MTEL-Flex submission is given a score of 1-4 based on a set of performance descriptors. When you receive your score, a “P” indicates passing. If you do not pass your MTEL-Flex, you will also receive feedback on your response.

To view the official scoring rubrics and score descriptions for the MTEL-Flex and MTEL-Flex Spanish exams, see pages 8-13 of the MTEL-Flex Handbook.

How Should I Prepare For My MTEL-Flex Exam?

In contrast with other teacher certification exams, MTEL-Flex exams involve less memorization, test-taking strategies, and traditional studying. However, that does not necessarily mean that they require less preparation.

To prepare for your MTEL-Flex exam, you’ll need to spend time gathering sources, researching topics, and planning a response that shows a deep understanding of the subject matter.

Start by deciding which MTEL-Flex option is right for you. For each MTEL-Flex subject area, there are two objectives you can choose from. Carefully read each exam’s objective and descriptive statements to determine which exam you are more comfortable with.

After you’ve chosen a topic, it’s time to gather any sources that you will use to write your response. Sources can include textbooks, articles, course materials, or other printed or electronic materials. Depending on your exam, prompt number 2 on your exam template may also list certain resources to use.

Next, familiarize yourself with how your exam will be scored. See pages 8-13 of the MTEL-Flex Handbook for exam rubrics. This will give you an idea of what to include in your response, as well as how to format your final submission.

When you are ready to write your analysis, take time to make an outline and draft. This will help ensure that your written response is cohesive, logical, and covers all of the necessary points.

Need help with your writing? Check out our tips for answering constructed response questions. While these tips were created for traditional teacher certification exams, many of them can still also be applied to MTEL-Flex exams. The creators of the MTEL-Flex also suggest looking over the open response questions from your corresponding MTEL exam if available.

Should I Take the MTEL-Flex or Retake My Content Exam?

Keep in mind that you do not have to take an MTEL-Flex exam. Another option is to retake your MTEL content exam. There are a few different factors to consider when choosing which type of test to take.

Do you feel like you went into your original exam with a strong understanding of the material but still failed? Do you struggle with test anxiety or often perform poorly on exams? Can you effectively demonstrate your knowledge through writing? If so, an MTEL-Flex exam is probably the right choice for you.

On the other hand, maybe you know that you were unprepared for your first exam attempt, but you’ve done an extensive amount of studying since then and feel much more prepared. If this is the case, consider retaking your MTEL exam rather than trying a new exam format.

Not sure if you’re ready to retake your MTEL exam yet? Try one of our free MTEL practice tests to see where you stand.

Have other MTEL exams to take? Check out our MTEL Prep page for free MTEL resources or our comprehensive MTEL study guides.