The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is a standardized test administered by the National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES), under the direction of the CBEST Program. Those who want to teach at public schools and gain a credential in California and Oregon must take the CBEST. The test is designed to provide information about basic proficiency in reading, mathematics, and writing.
The CBEST does not test teaching skills or abilities. It only tests reading skills (critical analysis, evaluation, comprehension, and research skills), mathematics skills (estimation, measurement, computation, and problem solving), and writing skills that are considered important for a job in the education field.
The test is divided into three sections. The reading and math sections each contain 50 multiple-choice questions, while the writing section consists of two essay questions.
The test must be completed in four hours, but the time may be split however you like among the three sections.
You have the option of taking either a computer-based exam or paper-based test.
The Reading section of the CBEST assesses your ability to comprehend information presented in written passages, tables, and graphs. There are two skill factors the questions are based on: critical analysis & evaluation and comprehension & research skills.
Reading CBEST Sample Question
For the Reading section, you will be given a passage followed by questions that are related to the passage. A question could be, "From what genre is this passage taken?"
The Math section of the CBEST requires you to solve math problems . Most of the questions are presented as word problems. You are allowed to use a calculator. There are three skill factors that the questions are based on:
CBEST Sample Math Question
Howard received the following test scores in history class: 77, 85, 87, 73, and 99. What was Howard’s average test score, rounded to the nearest point?
The Writing section of the CBEST includes two writing topics. One topic asks you to analyze a given situation or statement, while the other asks you to write about a specific personal experience.
The starting salary of an elementary school teacher is $69,320 annually. You also receive affordable health insurance and a retirement plan. As a teacher, you also get holidays and summers off.
How much does the CBEST cost?
The registration fee for both the paper-based test (PBT) and the computer-based test (CBT) is $41.
The CBT has an additional service fee of $61. You must pay this fee every time you take the test.
What are the requirements to take the CBEST?
You may take the CBEST if you have earned, at minimum, a high school diploma, a GED, or the equivalent, or if you are, or have been, a student taking courses for college credit pursuant to a career in education.
When can I take the CBEST?
The test dates for the exam vary.
The computer-based CBEST can be taken year round, Monday–Saturday (excluding some holidays).
The paper-based test is held on February 4th, April 22nd, and July 8th in 2017.
If I fail, how long do I need to wait to take the test again?
You must wait 45 calendar days from the date you took the test to retake a computer-based test or subtest.
How long do my scores last?
If you do not take all sections of the CBEST, a passing score lasts for five years after the test date or submission deadline. However, once the entire test has been passed, you will never need to take the test again to qualify for the issuance or renewal of any credential in the future.
What is the passing score of the CBEST?
To pass the test, you need a total score of 123 for all three sections.
The results of the three sections of the CBEST range from 20 to 80. You need a score of 37 or higher in each section in order to pass. If you score below 37 in any of the three sections, you cannot pass.
When will I receive my scores?
The date you receive your test scores is dependent on when you took the exam.
If you take the CBEST CBT, you will receive your test scores 5–12 days after you took the test.
If you take the CBEST PBT on February 4th, April 22nd, or July 8th, you will receive the test results 16 days later.
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