CSET Examination

Utility of Taking the CSET Examination

The CSET or the California Subject Examinations for Teachers is a mandatory exam that you have to pass to be able to teach in a school in California. The details of the test are discussed in this article.

Subjects tested in the CSET

The CSET examination is divided into five categories and they are:

  • CSET: Multiple Subjects
  • CSET: Single Subject
  • CSET: Writing Skills
  • CSET: Preliminary Education Technology
  • CSET: Languages other than English (LOTE)

Each category has subtests and the subtests are composed of domains.

Format of the Test

The CSET Examination is available in both computer-based testing format and paper-based testing format. Unlike some other tests, subjects are not available in both the formats. The categories of the test are available in any one of the formats.

Computer-based testing format

The following subjects are tested in the computer-based format of the test:

  • CSET: Mathematics
  • CSET: Multiple Subjects
  • CSET: Writing Skills

Paper-based testing format

The following subjects are tested in the paper-based format of the test:

  • CSET: Single Subject
  • CSET: Preliminary Educational Technology

Question Types

There are two types of questions asked in the CSET examination and they are multiple-choice questions and constructed-response type questions. All the categories of the CSET examination have both of these except the CSET: Writing Skills category which has constructed-response type questions alone.

CSET Test Scores

The different subtests in each CSET examination category are scored separately and these scores are called raw scores. Each subtest is also assigned a weight. The scaled score is calculated by multiplying the raw score with the weight. The final scores are reported in the range of 100 to 300. The CSET is a pass or fail examination and the minimum score one has to attain to pass the test is 220.

Test Registration

Two modes of registration are available to you, namely, online registration and phone-in registration. While the online registration is available on all days, telephone registration is only available on working days from 9.00am to 5.00pm. The registration fee varies for the different subjects and you can pay the fee either by credit, debit or check card but these cards must have either the MasterCard or Visa logo on them.

Time Duration

The time duration for each subject is different. For CSET: Multiple Subjects, the test is for five hours but you can take up the different subtests on different days. In such a case, the first two subtests are 1.5 hours each and the third subtest is 2.25 hours. The Writing Skills test is for 1.5 hours.

The session length in one day is 5 hours and for the other subjects you can either take three subtests, four English subtests or three subtests from different examinations in one session.

Importance or Utility of the Test

The CSET examination is conducted to check if the candidates possess the knowledge and skills to be a good teacher. There are certain pre-determined conditions that need to be satisfied and the CSET checks if the candidates satisfy these.

The conditions include:

  1. Possession of the basic skills that are required for teaching

  2. Possession of knowledge and subject matter competence

  3. Satisfying the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirement- The NCLB makes sure that all students receive good education

  4. Possession of technology knowledge as applicable to the field of education

  5. Possession of the ability to teach English to non-English students

A passing score in the individual subjects authorizes you to teach at different levels.

  • CSET: Multiple Subject - Authorizes the holder to teach in elementary school

  • CSET: Single Subject - Authorizes the holder to teach that particular subject in the middle and secondary school

  • CSET: Writing Skills - Required for meeting the basic skills requirement to become a teacher

  • CSET: Preliminary Educational Technology - Required to evaluate the skill of handling computers in an educational setup

  • CSET: LOTE - Required for bilingual authorization

To Summarize

The CSET examination is a tool that is used to check the competence of an individual in the teaching profession. Though the test is termed to be difficult, with proper preparation, you can definitely pass it and become a teacher in California.

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