CBEST - computer vs. paper

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by Sophrosyne, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Sophrosyne

    Sophrosyne New Member

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    Dec 22, 2008

    I'm studying for the CBEST, and I'm wondering whether I should take the paper or computer test.

    With the computer test, do you write your essays on the computer? Is it possible to switch the keyboard mode to Dvorak instead of Qwerty? And is it worth the extra money to go for CAT instead of the more traditional paper?

    Also, assuming I pass the CBEST, what is the job market like in Southern California re: substitute teachers? I have a B.A. from Northwestern.

    Thank you!
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 22, 2008

    Yes, you write the essays on the computer. I rather doubt that it's possible to switch the keyboard from QUERTY to Dvorak, however, unless one applies for special accommodation. Whether it makes sense to spend the additional money will doubtless vary from test taker to test taker; for the most part, I suspect the answer is "no".

    If you got through SAT in one piece, CBEST should hold no fears for you.

    As to the job market in Southern California, it depends a bit on just where you are, but overall it's pretty gruesome.
     
  4. Sophrosyne

    Sophrosyne New Member

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    Dec 22, 2008

    I got through both the SAT and the GRE. I was thinking the CBEST seemed much easier, in comparison. (Although, having said that, watch the math section kick my butt).

    I'm in the Los Angeles / Pasadena / Burbank / Glendale / La Canada Flintridge area. I don't even know what the salary range is out here. Ever since I became a mom, I've been so focused on children and teaching, I started really resenting having to leave the baby to go to an office job I didn't care about. So I decided to make a career change. Although my timing probably sucks!

    The reason I've been debating between paper and computer is the written essay portion of the CBEST. I'm part of the computer generation -- I'm so used to doing all my writing on a computer, I'm not sure I can write long-hand anymore!
     
  5. Sophrosyne

    Sophrosyne New Member

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    Dec 22, 2008

    What's the difference between "certificated staff" and "classified staff"? Is there something else I need to do, in addition to the CBEST?
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 23, 2008

    A little review should do you just fine, Sophrosyne. As to the essays, take a look at the samples in the practice test: these are so not supposed to be dissertations.

    "Certificated staff" would be people with credentials - teachers, counselors, administrators, like that. "Classified staff" is school secretaries, groundskeepers, HR people, and the like.
     
  7. jetty

    jetty Rookie

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    Jan 20, 2009

    I just took the CBEST via computer at a testing center. The nice part is that I have my unofficial scores (they gave me a printout right after I finished the exam) 52 reading, 65 math, writing unknown. I personally liked taking it on computer. I could go back to any parts of the test at anytime during the testing period. In this internet age, the computer felt more 'natural.'
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2009

    And some people would rather not pay the additional $64, and that's okay, too.

    (singing cheerfully off-key)

    Diff'rent strokes
    For diff'rent folks...
     
  9. cisplatin

    cisplatin New Member

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    Aug 28, 2010

    While I know I'm posting to a really old thread, I found it from Googling 'cbest computer vs paper', and I imagine there's others looking for similar information. I took the computer based version this week and if you have the extra money to spend, I'd recommend going with it.

    First off, the Javascript applet on the CBEST webpage that supposedly is a mock up of the actual software is NOTHING like the real thing. For instance, the reading section for the computer-based practice test displays the passage on one screen, with the questions on subsequent screens. If you don't have the passage in front of you it's impossible to remember all the multiple-choice answers to compare it to. The real software uses a split-screen with the passage on the left and the question on the right, which makes things really easy. The math section in the applet is very similar, so at least that's modeled well. The writing section has basic text editor functions built-in (copy, cut, paste, undo, redo), so editing your essays is a breeze. Additionally, the navigation is streamlined and more intuitive in the software you'll test with, so don't waste your time memorizing how things work in the applet.

    One final note: don't worry about bringing pencils for the computer based exam. They'll give you a pen and a set of dry erase sheets you can scribble on while in the testing center. Anyhow, hope this info helps future testers.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 28, 2010

    Thanks for the report, cisplatin. That complaint about the Java practice applet on the CBEST Web site has surfaced at various times; it's good to hear that The Real Thing is more intelligently designed. (I think this is true generally: practice materials don't tend to get updated much, but actual tests and their questions do go through a continuous vetting process - this doesn't mean that questions on the real test are easier per se, but they do tend to be cleaner, at least.)
     

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