As a veteran teacher, I don't have to take the MTEL tests. Recently, however, I've become very interested in math education and I was curious about the MTEL Elementary Math test. So yesterday I took the test.
First, I should have studied more. I was rusty with a number of math concepts that are taught at the Middle School level and should have given my self a few weeks to practice. I did take the online practice test, a number of online practice quizzes, and used Khan Academy to study some of the areas I found challenging, and that helped, but I wish I had made the time to complete Khan Academy's Middle School curriculum exercises. I still find Khan Academy to be an efficient, comprehensive math study/learning site.
Next, it was good to sit for four hours and take a test in that it let me know first-hand what my students feel like when they take a test. Surprisingly I didn't follow some of my own advice about open response problems simply because by the end of the test my confidence and stamina were compromised. I should have trusted my instincts and pushed forward instead of giving up. I'm sure that some of my students feel the same way. Therefore building stamina with intellectual tasks is important for students (and teachers). I did take my advice about difficult multiple choice questions with regard to flagging the items and going back--that's a good strategy as when you look at problems with fresh eyes, you sometimes are able to solve the problem.
As I took the test I realized that new teachers who pass these tests do demonstrate a great deal of knowledge and academic stamina which is good for the teaching profession and the students we teach. I could also see how important the new standards are with regard to developing a strong math foundation at elementary school.
Now I'll wait to hear the score results and then decide on next steps. I'm very excited about the promise for terrific math education at the elementary school level these days. The resources are amazing and potential to teach every child well terrific. By narrowing educators' content responsibility, supporting dynamic professional learning endeavor, building blended programs, and incorporating greater response to intervention (RTI), personalization, and collegial collaboration we'll serve students with strength.