Using the MTELP Series

Levels & Score Interpretation

Choosing the Right Level

1. Using the Michigan EPT

If you are a user of the Michigan English Placement Test (Michigan EPT), Table 1 can help you determine which level of the MTELP Series is best for you and your students.

Table 1: Suggested MTELP level based on CaMLA EPT scaled scores
CaMLA EPT (Forms D, E, F, G, H, I) Scaled Score Range Suggested MTELP Series Level (Forms D, E, F)
0–34 Level 1
35–60 Level 2
61–80 Level 3

2. Estimating CEFR equivalencies

While these cut score estimates should not be used to place test takers into specific CEFR levels, they can be used to estimate the relative level of the beginner, intermediate, and advanced MTELP exams. Based on these cut levels, MTELP Level 1 primarily covers the A1, A2, and lower B1 proficiency levels. MTELP Level 2 primarily covers upper A1, A2, B1, B2, and lower C1 proficiency levels. MTELP Level 3 primarily covers the B2 and C1 levels, and it may go beyond the C1 level.

Caution: There has not yet been a formal CEFR standard-setting study conducted for the MTELP Series itself. This table is based on relationships between item difficulty on the MTELP and Michigan EPT and on the Michigan EPT CEFR Standard Setting study published on the Michigan Language Assessment website.

CEFR Cut Level CaMLA EPT (Forms D, E, F, G, H, I) Scaled Score MTELP Series Scale Cut Score Estimate (for Forms D, E, F)
Table 2: CEFR cut scores
B2 / C1 61 64
B1 / B2 53 55
A2 / B1 39 42
A1 / A2 31 35

3. Using on-hand information

Consider what information you already have about your students’ proficiency level:

  1. Low proficiency students should probably take only Level 1. If they take Level 2 or Level 3, it is likely that their scores will be so low as to be uninterpretable (see Table 3 in next section)
  2. Use Level 3 only for high proficiency students. If low and intermediate students take Level 3, it is likely that their scores will be so low as to be uninterpretable (see Table 3 in next section)

4. Reviewing the MTELP Series sample items

Review the MTELP Series sample items for each level to identify which level best matches your students’ proficiency level(s).

Knowing when your students are ready to move to the next level

Table 3 highlights that there is a “sweet spot” within each level of the MTELP Series—a score range where the test is designed to provide maximum information about the test taker’s proficiency. When students’ scores fall in the “Appropriate” range, then the test is the right level for them. When students’ scores fall below or above the “Appropriate” range, then a different MTELP level should be used. Use caution when interpreting raw scores of 15 or lower, as such scores suggest the test is too difficult.

Too Difficult Appropriate Too Easy
Table 3: Difficulty ranges for MTELP Series (Forms D, E, F) scaled scores
Level 1 2–49 50–100
Level 2 6–25 25–74 75–100
Level 3 15–50 51–100

Measuring student progress after a period of instruction

How to use the MTELP

You can compare MTELP scores within a single level when the appropriate level of the test is being given. Consider, for example, a student who scores 30 on MTELP Level 2 at the beginning of a course of study:

  • It is appropriate to give this student a different form of MTELP Level 2 at the end of the course and then compare that score with the 30 he or she scored initially.
  • One would expect an improvement of scores within the same MTELP Series level.
  • You can continue to give MTELP Level 2 to chart progress until the student scores more than 75, at which point the test is no longer the best level test for that student.

How not to use the MTELP

Do not compare scores across different levels of the MTELP Series. In other words, you should not give a student Level 1 at the beginning of a course of study and then Level 2 at the end of the course and try to compare the scores to see progress. Compare scores only within a single level of MTELP and while the scores fall in the “appropriate” range as shown in Table 3.

More about comparing scores

Each level of the MTELP Series has different types of questions designed to provide the most information about test takers at a certain ability level. MTELP Series scaled scores are related across Levels 1, 2, and 3, but the scores should not be directly compared across levels. The relationship between MTELP Series levels was established to help test users determine when a student should take a higher or lower level in the series, not to allow comparison of scores across levels.

Determining scores for college matriculation

MTELP Series may be used to determine proficiency for college matriculation, but this is a local decision and depends on many factors, including

  • the rigor of the program the student will be entering
  • the amount of language teaching support available to the student
  • the demands of the program the student is entering

For most programs, it is likely that such a score will be on either MTELP Level 2 or Level 3. To determine the score appropriate in your setting, it is best to conduct a local standard-setting study, perhaps over several semesters. You may wish to consult Table 2, which relates MTELP Series scores to the Michigan EPT and the CEFR:

  • Administer the MTELP to students about whom you already have information as to their readiness for matriculation (scores on other tests, performance in your classes, etc.)
  • Determine which MTELP scores are achieved by those students you believe are ready to matriculate as opposed to those students who are not