CEPP has created guides to help educators better understand the draft SMKs.

UPDATE: Public comment open until November 17, 2017


Got thoughts on what is covered by your license? The draft changes to the SMKs will result in changes to at least 20 MTEL exams and educator preparation programs. These changes may impact an educator’s ability to add a license in a new field or grade level. See our post on public comment for DESE guidelines here.

Subject Matter Knowledge Guidelines

Subject Matter Knoweldge (SMK)  list the content topics for each educator license. The SMKs are used to design coursework in educator preparation programs, set the content for the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and are used to evaluate license applications where there is no MTEL available.

The draft SMK document is available online.

The current SMKs are no longer posted online. You can download a copy of the 603 CMR 7.06 March 2017 SMKs Only.

Need Help Comparing Versions?

The Center for Education Policy and Practice (CEPP) has prepared guides for each SMK area that draft changes published by DESE. Educators can view the current SMK requirements (2011-2016) and the draft replacement SMK requirements (2017) for each subject area.

Each document contains hyperlinks to the survey, curriculum frameworks, MTEL exams and DESE websites.



Digital Literacy & Computer Science

Early Childhood (see also Foundations of Reading)

Earth and Space Science

Elementary    (see also General Curriculum & Foundations of Reading)


Foundations of Reading

General Curriculum

General Science


Middle School Math/Science


Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (see also General Curriculum)

Visually Impaired (see also General Curriculum & Foundations of Reading)

Technology Engineering

Instructional Technology

Reading Specialist

Public Comment Survey

DESE is using a survey tool which only includes the draft, or new, language for each item. The tool is also not aligned to the draft guidelines for SMKs document shared by DESE.

This survey tool asks the participant to select a single area to provide a response. Inside the survey, participants are asked to indicate a level of support for the proposed change (yes, no, mixed) and there is space for an open response for each item.

Public comment on the Subject Matter Knowledge Guidelines will be open through November 3, 2017. November 17, 2017.

What are SMKs?

SMKs establish the content in Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and guide coursework for educator preparation programs. SMKs define the content and pedagogical skills educators are required to master before entering the profession and they are aligned to Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. Curriculum frameworks define the content and skills students are expected to know for each grade span.





































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