Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination (MTLE)

Tiered Licensure

Minnesota officially switched to the new Tiered Licensure system on July 1, 2018. This new system provides for four tiers of licenses, please see this infographic provided by Education Minnesota. Completers of St. Olaf’s Teacher Education program will be eligible for a Tier 3 license if they:

  • Complete St. Olaf’s Teacher Education program, including successful student teaching and meeting all other requirements
  • Obtain passing scores on MTLE Pedagogy and Content exams

This Tier 3 is good for three years and can be renewed indefinitely. Once a candidate has taught in Minnesota for three years and passed the state-approved Basic Skills exams, they are eligible to move to Tier 4, the highest possible tier. ACT+Writing and SAT scores can be used to satisfy this Tier 4 requirement, but this is not required for a Tier 3 license.

Click on the links below for more information on:

General MTLE Information

Teacher candidates seeking licensure must complete the Pedagogy tests, and the Content Area exams. You must pass ALL exams in order to be eligible for a Minnesota teaching license. You may retake the subtests until you obtain a passing score (which is a scale score of 240).

  • There are two levels for which you can take the two subtests of the Pedagogy exams: elementary (K-6), and secondary (5-12). You only need to take the subtests at one grade level even if you are seeking a K-12 license. It is your choice as to which exams you take. Each subtest costs $53.50 (and there are two). We recommend that you take this exam after completing your methods course(s) but prior to student teaching.
  • For each license you are seeking, you must complete two Content Area subtests (you can find out more here). Each subtest costs $53.50 (and there are two). We recommend that you take this exam the semester before student teaching senior year (for ESL licensure students, you should take this test after you’ve had all your ESL courses and linguistics).
    • Note that both Vocal and Instrumental students take the same Subtest 1: Instrumental & Vocal Music Sub 1

The following MTLE tests are available for online proctoring so you can test without traveling to a test center:

  • Communication Arts/Literature (Grades 5-12)
  • Pedagogy: Elementary (Grades K-6)
  • Pedagogy: Secondary (Grades 5-12)
  • Social Studies (Grades 5-12)

Score reports are released approximately 21 days after testing. Please print your score reports. They are only available for a short time, and you will need to pay to access those scores at a later date.

ACT+Writing and SAT Scores in Place of Basic Skills Exams

Beginning January 1, 2015, Educator Licensing will accept passing ACT Plus Writing and SAT scores to meet the statutory requirement for a skills exam in reading, writing and math for a Tier 4 license; this is not required for Tier 3. In 2014 The Board of Teaching adopted the following passing scores for these exams:

  • ACT Plus Writing: Composite Score ≥ 22 and Combined English/Writing ≥ 21
  • OLD 2400 SAT Reading ≥ 510 and Writing ≥ 510 and Mathematics ≥ 520
  • NEW 1600 SAT  (NEW) Reading ≥ 550 and Writing ≥ 550 and Mathematics ≥ 570

Test Dates and Sites

Effective September 4, 2012, computer-based tests are available by appointment, year round. Test dates and sites are listed here by content area.  In the search boxes, choose “Test Information” –> “Where Can I Test?”–>Choose your test

Completing the Registration

  • To register, go to the registration site: https://www.nestest.com/
  • Enter the “Register” area and follow the directions provided. You will be asked to provide personal information. Identify the tests you want to take by adding them to the “test selection” area.
  • When prompted to indicate which institution you want to receive your scores it is imperative that you indicate St. Olaf College.  If you do not list St. Olaf as a recipient, it could delay your licensing process later.
  • Make certain to add St. Olaf for where you received your educator preparation training.
  • Also make certain to complete all requested information prior to completing registration. You will need a Mastercard or Visa (or a debit card that carries the Visa/Mastercard logo) to complete the process.

Test Preparation

The NES website provides test preparation materials for the pedagogy and content tests. DO NOT pay for any preparation materials.

Additional resources:

  • Review the MN Licensure Standards for your content area. This provides an overview of the topics of the content test.
  • The Education Department has study guides you may review.

Financial Assistance

The pedagogy and content subtests tests each cost $53.50. If test fees present a financial burden to you, please know that with all fees in the Education Department, there is a mechanism in place to provide some financial assistance to you should you have demonstrated need. If you would like to apply for fee assistance for the MTLE exams, please use this form. Make sure to apply for financial assistance PRIOR TO registering for the tests. We CANNOT reimburse you for registration fees; if you are eligible for financial assistance, we will help you register.

Test Accommodations

Examinees with documented disabilities, examinees for whom English is not a primary language, and examinees whose religious practices prevent them from testing on Saturdays may be eligible for alternative testing arrangements. This process will take several weeks, so be sure to register early. If you are requesting accommodations and fee assistance, start with the fee assistance form.

Pass Rates

The Higher Education Act, Title II, Section 207 (1988) requires all institutions that prepare teachers to report pass rates on state licensing tests.

Prior to September 1, 2010 Teacher Candidates were required to pass the Praxis I and II exams for teacher licensure. Pass rates (below) are for the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams for the four most recently completed academic years.

St. Olaf Teacher Education Program Completers for 2016-2020 MTLE Assessments

# Taking Assessment
# Passing Assessment
St. Olaf Pass Rate
MN Passing Rates (18-19)
Elementary Pedagogy Test 29 29 100% 95-96%
Secondary Pedagogy Tests 102 101 99% 98-99%
Content Tests 137 137 100% 54-100%