I won’t know for about 6 weeks if I passed the California Teachers of English Learners (CTEL) test , which I took yesterday at CSU, Sacramento. Taking the CTEL is an all day affair, if you’re planning to take all three sections. I signed up for all three.
From the parking lot, I joined a few other teachers also on their way to the test. Two were PE teachers, who were questioning the value of having to know the difference between a diphthong and a digraph; the other two were returning to retake the two sections they had previously failed and were fairly frustrated by both the certification requirement and the testing format. I kept my mouth shut.
What I did not share with my fellow CTEL test takers was how deeply interested I am in the topic of English language learners (ELs). Nor did I share my frustration at not being able to find some affordable workshops on the topic. Our local COE canceled their CTEL workshop series based on low enrollment (with close to 300 of us showing up for Saturday’s event, that seems puzzling). And I also did my best not to get in a huff over the fact that I am permanently out $303 (something, admittedly, I could have avoided had I opted to take the test a few years back), whereas my four walking companions mentioned they will be reimbursed for the exam fee as soon as they have proof of passing.
But I’m not writing this post to complain about the CTEL exam. I’m writing to acknowledge four people who helped me prepare for the test, either in print, online, or face-to-face. The first three people I’ve not yet met f2f; the 4th person, I know well:
- Lynne Diaz-Rico – Thank you for your helpful book A Course for Teaching English Learners. You provided the first step in preparing for the scope and sequence of the exam – and you reminded me, through research and samples, of the importance of promoting and supporting bilingual education.
- Jeffery Heil – Thank you for your contributions to the CTEL wiki! Your PowerPoints helped prep me for the fact that careful reading of the multiple-choice questions would be critical (and sort of got me over the hump that although it was easy to eliminate two of the choices, for many of the questions, deciding between the two remaining answers, choosing the better of the two would not always be obvious). Lucky SDCOE to have you as a resource!
- Carol Booth Olsen – Thanks to the Know Els ning (part of the National Writing Project network), I found your Cognitive Strategies Approach to Reading and Writing: Instruction for English Language Learners in Secondary School. On Friday, I had hit rock bottom in terms of getting bogged down with CTEL EL-related acronyms and laws (which were completely missing from Saturday’s test, I might mention). So, in search of a pre-test jitters/blues antidote, I headed to the Know ELs ning – and found your article. As I read about the Pathways Project, and noted the excellent strategies for building ELs’ language toolkits, my interest and enthusiasm for the topic resurfaced. I ended my Friday study session feeling prepared to sit for the test and hoping that the essay sections would provide a venue for showcasing powerful teaching strategies from Writing Project teachers.
- And one last person I want to thank Lesley McKillop, 4th grade teacher, A3WP TC, and my friend. Through classroom visits, often extended via phone calls during my daily commute, I have watched you engage your elementary students and build EL strategies, much like Carol Booth Olson has done for secondary students. Three out of four of my CTEL essays were based on best practices from your classroom:
If you also spent Saturday taking the CTEL, I hope you passed!
And if you have CTEL stories and/or resources to add to this post, I’ll hope you’ll add a comment.
CTEL Exam – Registration, Testing Center & How To Pass Quickly
CTEL ExamFacts You Must Know Before Anything Else
In order to teach English Learners in California, a teacher must receive authorization from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). This requirement is mandated through legislation in the California Education Code, sections 44253.3 and 44253.4. The purpose of the California Teacher Of English Learners (CTEL) is to insure that credentialed teachers have the necessary skills needed to instruct English language learners. CTC has hired Pearson, on a contractual basis, to develop and administer the CTEL exam.
Many Cross-Cultural and Academic Support type teacher credential classes are waived if you pass. Therefore, there's a lot of knowledge and real life teaching scenarios you must show you're fluent in as an educator of second language learners.
To be as prepared as you can and pass on your first try, check out: CTEL Practice Test
You can earn a CLAD or BCLAD credential through a teacher credential program. However, if you pass the CTEL exam you will fulfill the state competency requirements taught CLAD/BCLAD courses.
CTEL Test – How To Register
When registering for the CTEL exam you need to provide your social security number in addition to some background questions concerning language proficiencies, and hours of in-service training.
• CTEL test registration is done by internet and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Candidates are processed on a first come, first serve basis so it is important to register as early as possible to make sure you receive your preferred date as seating is limited.
• If you wish to take all three segments at the same time, the cost is $260. If you wish to take each CTEL test separately then Language and Language Development costs $98, Assessment and Instruction costs $147, and Culture and Inclusion costs $99.
• At the time of registration payment must be made in full using a VISA or MasterCard, or a debit or check card that has a credit card logo and doesn’t require a pin number.
Once you have completed the on-line registration, you will receive an email that acknowledges that you have registered. Within one business day, you will receive another e-mail called Authorized to Test which will allow you to set up a test appointment. The Authorized to Test e-mail will provide instructions on how to set up a testing time.
What To Expect At The CTEL Test Center Will Improve You Test Score
When you arrive at the CTEL exam center you will be asked for one piece of current, government issued identification. This can include a driver’s licence, a passport, or military identification. You will not be able to take cell phones, electronic devices, calculators or any unauthorized aids into the testing area. At the beginning of the CTEL test, you will be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement on the computer.
How To Boost Your Chances Of A Passing CTEL Exam Score
The CSET examination has three separate components: Language and Language Development, Assessment and Instruction, Culture and Inclusion.
• Language and Language Development (CTEL 1), includes language use and structure, and first and second language acquisition. This segment has 50 multiple choice questions and 1 essay question. The length of the exam is 105 minutes.
• Assessment and Instruction (CTEL 2), includes developing appropriate assessment tools and creating appropriate content for learners. There are 60 multiple choice questions and 2 essay questions. The duration of this segment is 165 minutes.
• Culture and Inclusion (CTEL 3), includes understanding cultural diversity and how it relates to academic achievement. This section contains 40 multiple choice questions and one essay question. The length of this section is 90 minutes.
All the CTEL test components were developed through committees of California educators and other assessment experts.
The Way The CTEL Test Is Scored
The CTEL exam score will be provided by CTC on the published report dates. The score will give information regarding passing or not passing for each segment, and other performance indicators. CTEL tests calculate a raw score which is then converted to a scaled score that ranges from 100-300. A minimum of 220 is needed to pass a segment.
• Multiple choice questions represent 70% of the final scaled score while essay questions are weighted at 30%.
• The multiple choice questions are tabulated by computer as correct or incorrect.
• There are no deductions for incorrect answers.
• The CTEL essay questions are reviewed by a minimum of two California educators who use a standardized rubric. The essay questions are judged primarily on their relevance to the question, the application of knowledge and the support provided.
• The score is compared to a pre-existing standard that has been established by the commission, rather than to other test takers.
How To Apply These Basic Facts About CTEL Testing To Pass Now
See this CSET test prep site by CLAD/BCLAD credentialed teachers who passed. Go to:CTEL Practice Test right now.