About CBEST Test

The academic performance and eventually the career of students largely depends on the guidance and training being imparted to them by their teachers. Therefore, it is evident that educators have an immense responsibility in shaping up the future generations of any state or nation. It is therefore natural for any state to adopt ways and means for ensuring that the educators in their state are well qualified and suitable for the job that they have been designated for.





What is CBEST?

CBEST is the acronym for California Basic Educational Skills Test. It is a standardized test which is conducted in the US states of California and Oregon for adults desirous of teaching at public schools. Scores from the test help candidates to demonstrate their level of proficiency in reading, mathematics and writing which are the three basic skills required for being successful in their professions as educators. Remember that evaluators are not testing your expertise in teaching these skills. Although the assessment is designed to meet the laws related to credentialing and employment in California and Oregon, it does not mean that the other requirements for grant of teaching credentials have been overridden. The other requirements will be considered along with scores from this test for issuing teaching credentials.

Who conducts CBEST?

CBEST has been developed by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in conjunction with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and an advisory board that consists of a large number of educators from California. This development led to the establishment of the procedure for conducting the exam including the identification of skills to be tested, determination of the passing scores and a study of the accuracy, clarity and job relevance of each type of question.

After the initial development process, new test items are being developed regularly and they are being incorporated in the test format after it is verified that they meet the test specifications as approved by the CTC. This verification and review process is carried out by committees of California educators. The Evaluation Systems group of Pearson has been made responsible by the CTC for assisting in the development of the CBEST. The Evaluation Systems group is also responsible for conducting and scoring the test. Refer to the official website, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/index.asp for all the details related to the registration policies and for information pertaining to the test dates and test centers.

What is the CBEST Test Format?

The test consists of three sections: Reading, Mathematics and Writing. Some questions do not count towards the final scores. These are trial questions that have been included to test their usage as future test questions. The entire test is conducted in English and the test-taker cannot respond to the questions in any other language.

1. Reading Test Section

  • What is tested?

Your abilities to understand and interpret information that has been provided to you in the form of reading passages, tables and graphs will be put to test by the 50 multiple-choice questions that will be presented in this test section. The passages will be related to matter pertaining to different subjects but you will not need to be proficient in the subject being discussed by the content of the passage. The materials provided to you in the form of written text, tables and graphs will be sufficient to answer the questions that will follow the given information.

  • Skill Areas

The questions asked in this test section pertain to two skill areas:

    1. Critical Analysis and Evaluation: 40 percent of the questions asked in this test section are based on this skill area.
    2. Comprehension and Research Skills: 60 percent of the questions of the reading test section are drawn from this skill area.

2. Mathematics Test Section

  • What is tested?

Your skills in problem solving will be tested by the 50 multiple-choice questions asked in this test section. The questions asked will be in the form of word problems.

  • Skill Areas
    1. Estimation, Measurement and Statistical Principles: This skill area accounts for 30 percent of the questions asked in this section.
    2. Computation and Problem Solving: About 35 percent of the questions asked in this section are from this skill area.
    3. Numerical and Graphic Relationships: The remaining 35 percent of the questions are drawn from this skill area.

3. Writing Test Section

  • What is tested?

You will be tested for your skills in writing by this test section. You will be given two topics and you will have to write essays in response to those topics. One of the topics will require you to analyze a given statement or situation. The second topic will require you to write an essay on a specific personal experience. Remember that you do not have to exhibit specialized knowledge in a specific subject area for doing well in this test section. All that is required is a flair for writing effectively using well-constructed sentences without any grammatical errors.

Note: You will have a total of four hours to complete all the test sections. No time limit has been set for the individual sections. Hence, you can plan on spending any amount of time on any test section provided you complete all the test sections within the stipulated four hours.

What is the CBEST CBT?

Starting from 2009, CBEST will also be available in a computerized format, CBEST CBT (CBEST Computer Based Testing). This format is available for selected five day or six day testing windows throughout the year. Refer the official website to know the test dates and test centers where the CBEST CBT will be available. You can register for the computerized test online from the official website and you will have to pay an additional fee of $64 for taking the test on a computer. The basic registration fee for taking the test is $41. You can choose to register for one, two or all three test sections of the computer based test. You can retake a test section only after 120 days from the first test. Seating is limited and so you must register as early as possible as registration is on a ‘first come first serve’ basis.

You will be able to view your unofficial scores for the Reading and Mathematics test sections immediately on completing your test at the test center. The unofficial scores for all the test sections will be posted on the official website. The official score reports will be mailed to you within 10 days after the end of each testing window.

How is CBEST Scored?

Your CBEST score report contains your total score as well as your scores in the individual test sections. The score report will also contain information about your performance in the individual skill areas for each test section. The scaled scores for each test section range from 20 to 80. The scaled scores for all the test sections are added to arrive at the final score. The highest score is considered for calculating the total CBEST score if you have retaken any of the CBEST test sections. You need to score at least 41 in a test section in order to pass that particular test section. The total CBEST score required for passing the CBEST is 123. You will be able to pass the CBEST if you have scored 37 in one or more of the test sections but your total CBEST score is 123 or higher.

Note: If you have scored less than 37 in any of the test sections, then you will fail the CBEST irrespective of how high your total CBEST score may be.

There are no Shortcuts to Success!

Do not waste time in looking around for shortcuts that will help you to pass the CBEST in the shortest possible preparation time with minimum effort in the form of studies. Such shortcuts are not only useless but also result in an immense wastage of time. It will be in your interest to invest time in good quality preparation for taking the CBEST. Hard work in the present will pay rich dividends in the future and you will be able to achieve the aim that you have set for yourself.