The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) program was initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Education in 1998. It is part of a statewide education reform initiative for educators seeking PreKindergarten to Grade 12 licenses. The MTEL program includes a test of communication and literacy skills as well as tests of subject matter knowledge. The tests are designed to ensure that Massachusetts educators can communicate adequately with students, parents/guardians, and other educators and that they are knowledgeable in the subject matter of the license sought. The MTEL program was expanded in November 2004 to include tests for candidates seeking vocational technical and adult basic education licenses. The MTEL is developed, administered, and scored by National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES), which is now known as the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson Education. Tests are scored on a criterion-based system, where examinees must attain a certain score based on standards established by the state. Constructed (written & oral) components of the tests are scored using a focused holistic scoring model (similar to holistic grading). Like regular holistic scoring, responses are viewed for their overall quality, not just for individual mistakes. However this is done according to specific criteria that the state has established (i.e., grammar, support, etc). These criteria vary by test and assignment. It is accepted in a few other states as a credential for teaching.