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Licensure candidates are required to pass all the applicable National Evaluations Series (NES) Essential Academic Skills (or officially sanctioned tests listed below) and Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams (MTLE) tests. There are no tests required prior to being considered for admission. If required, the NES Basic Skills tests must be taken prior to starting the program, after being admitted.

Test information, including registration, test dates, test center locations, costs, and study guide, is available from NES and MTLE. Find out more about the MTLE on the CEHD advising site.

Required Tests

Students pursuing a MN teaching license in Early Childhood Education must pass the following tests, and the official passing scores must be received by CEHD student services to be recommended for teaching licensure.

Basic Skills Test Options

You must have taken Basic Skills tests OR have met the state-minimum ACT Plus Writing or SAT scores prior to starting the program.

  • NES Basic Skills Tests:
    • Reading (test code 001)
    • Writing (test code 002)
    • Mathematics (test code 003)
  • ACT Plus Writing*
    • Composite score ≥ 22 and Combined English/Writing ≥ 21
  • SAT*
    • Reading ≥ 510 Writing ≥ 510 Mathematics ≥ 520

*Scores presented for the purpose of licensing must be the result of exams taken within the last 10 years. Scores older than 10 years will not be accepted to meet licensure requirements. The ACT Plus Writing must be taken as a complete exam. Those who have previously taken the standard version of the ACT must take the new ACT Plus Writing in its entirety, should they choose this option.

MTLE Content and Pedagogy Tests

All subtests require a passing score of 240.

  • MTLE Pedagogy Test:
    Early Childhood (Birth to Grade 3) Subtest 1 (test code 010) and subtest 2 (test code 011)
    Take the Pedagogy test during the semester of your final student teaching.
  • MTLE Content Area Test:
    Early Childhood Education (Birth to Grade 3) Subtest 1 (test code 020) and subtest 2 (test code 021)
    Take the Content test(s) prior to your final student teaching

Make sure to select the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities as a recipient institution of your NES and MTLE scores. Also, save a copy of your official NES/MTLE test report as a PDF document. It will be your responsibility to safeguard your official scores.

Criminal background check

Before starting student teaching or practicums, students are subject to a criminal background check required by the college. The investigation is conducted by a private agency contracted by the college and is designed to meet school district guidelines governing adults with responsibility for children. Decisions about candidate placement will be made by the district approving the assignment.


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