CBEST writing section score verification

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by marchlily, May 25, 2013.

  1. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 25, 2013

    Hi,
    I have taken CBEST writing section twice, both failed with a score:33. What the diagnostic notes put on the first try was: Essay One-- organization, structure and conventions; Essay Two-- Usage, Structure and conventions. As for the second try: Essay One--Usage, and conventions;Essay Two-- met or exceeded the minimum standard. Based on the notes provided, I could tell my second try was better than the first one. Obviously, the second essay of my second try got passed. However, I wondered why the scores were the same.
    Does anybody have the same experience as mine? Since the scoring system is a bit complicated, I am not sure whether my case is normal or not. I am really appreciated if somebody can reply my post and give me suggestions on how to handle this.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 25, 2013

    33 isn't the scaled score you earned for EACH essay, it's the score for BOTH essays together. You needed at least 37 scaled-score points on both to pass (whether you needed 41 depends on your scores on the other two sections).

    I'll guess that your errors in usage on the second essay were less irritating to whoever supplied the diagnostics than were your errors in organization on the first essay.

    "Structure and conventions" includes things like number agreement, proper verb tense, failure to vary sentence structure in the essay, spelling, and punctuation.

    You might do well to find someone who understands essay writing and the test rubrics to read your essays and help you figure out what you can do differently.
     
  4. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 25, 2013

    Thanks very much for your reply. Teachergroupie!
    I believe that anybody who put the notes should refer to the rubric, for the sake of fairness. If the essay was diagnosed as "met or exceeded the minimum standard", raw score 3 might be guaranteed based on the rubric. As a result, I calculated the score with the following algorithm-- second essay:3 (raw score) times 2 (markers) plus first essay: 1 (raw score) times 2 equals 8. (I assumed that I got 1 for my first essay.) Then, convert 8 to scaled score, it is around 40. How come I got 33? I am very frustrated since I have been working with a private tutor for three whole weeks before my second try. However, I didn't see any improvements compared with the previous one. I will feel a little more comfortable even with one more point. Please let me know whether I need to verify my score.
    Sincerely,
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 26, 2013

    It's more complicated than that, partly because scores are scaled to compensate for the fact that essay prompts may vary in difficulty and partly because there's no reason to expect two scorers to give an essay exactly the same numerical score. (If they differ by more than one point, though, a third more experienced scorer is brought in.) The overall goal of CBEST scoring is that each scaled score should represent the same level of proficiency in writing no matter what the topics are. In any case, it would be quite possible for you to have received a 3 and a 2 on the second essay - that combination is consistent with the diagnostics and would be a passing score combination, I think, though just barely - and a 1 and a 1 on the first.

    In my experience, verifying a score is almost invariably a waste of time and money: the number of reports I have heard of a score on a teacher test being changed as a result of verification can be counted on the fingers of one hand, with fingers left over.

    Is your tutor someone who specializes in CBEST writing?
     
  6. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 26, 2013

    Thanks for your explanation!
    My tutor is an English major. Before tutoring, I showed her the diagnostics on my CBEST writing score result. In the following three weeks, both of us put much effort on my weakness part. I practiced a bunch of writings with the prompts she provided during and between working sessions. she was "picky on my Usage, structure and convention." just as she said at our first meeting. Unfortunately, the hard work led to a failing score again, which frustrated me most was I had the same score as the first try. :( Frankly, I did not do any practice before my first try.
    I think you are right; maybe verifying my score is a waste of time and money. I am now looking for another tutor to prepare for the next try. TeacherGroupie, can you give some suggestions on how and where to find a right tutor.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 26, 2013

    Hugs to you, marchlily. What are your scores on the other two sections of CBEST, and which credential are you pursuing?
     
  8. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 27, 2013

    TeacherGroupie,
    Even though the scores of the other two sections were not that high, they are good enough to help me reach the minimum passing score 123, in case I got 37 for writing part. I have thought my hard work could result in a minimum passing score. It seems that the harder I tried to do it, the more it backfired on me. Regarding the score, it really doesn't make sense to me: even one sentence writing could get 1 raw score; how come a complete five- paragraph writing with some grammatical errors got 1 raw score, too.
    I intend to teach Secondary school kids Chinese, but the reality shows that I still have a long way to go.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 27, 2013

    Ah: I suspected that your first language might not be English. Were you educated in China?

    So you need 37 points - a minimal pass - and you have 33 points in writing so far. That's better news than you might think.

    Grammatical errors alone - which are included under structure and conventions -, unless they're frequent enough to be bothersome, won't lead to a score of 1. Even getting tagged for structure and conventions plus usage won't necessarily sink an essay, as we see with your second essay. Your first essay was tagged not only for structure and conventions and usage but also for organization, which has to do with how the second and subsequent paragraphs depend on and flow from the first.

    What diagnostics were given for your previous attempt at CBEST essay?
     
  10. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 27, 2013

    Why I cannot post reply today? Try again
     
  11. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 27, 2013

    my first attempt was diagnosed as both essays need to improve at organization, structure and conventions

    My second attempt was diagnosed as only first essay needed to improve at usage , structure and conventions. second essay met and exceeded the minimum requirement.

    you see my second try is much better than the first try. Why did I get the same score?
     
  12. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 27, 2013

    Hi TeacherGroupie,
    That is so strange. The reply I composed failed to post time and time again. :confused:The above reply is a super simple version made by a helping hand. Is the computer intelligent enough to read and distinguish posts?:dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 27, 2013

    As to the post not posting, you're a very new member; there was probably something in your post (a link, maybe, or a phrasing) that could appear in a a post by a spambot, and the site software automatically sends such a post to the moderation queue.

    As to your scores, the chances are that the improvement in your second essay was offset by a decline in your first. This is a fairly common occurrence on tests like this, and you'd be far from the first person to have to take the essay section more than once.

    As to score verification, I've already given my advice: for most test takers and most tests, it makes no difference whatsoever in the outcome.
     
  14. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 27, 2013

    As a result, it is still possible that an essay with problems on structure and conventions plus usage may result in a failing score.
    Thank you! TeacherGroupie for your consistent response. I have hired a writing tutor and scheduled our meetings.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 27, 2013

    If your tutor isn't a CBEST expert, make sure the tutor sees the sample essays in the practice test - and is focusing on the essay that got a score of 3.
     
  16. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 28, 2013

    Thanks ! TeacherGroupie!
     
  17. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 28, 2013

    Btw, why did you suggest focusing on 3 score essay rathet than 4 ? is that because it's easier to reach the goal? Except from the CBEST practice books, whete else can i find the sample essaies with specific scores and scorers' comments?
     
  18. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 28, 2013

    typo: essaies and whete " essays and where"
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 28, 2013

    As for sample essays with specific scores and comments, they're a bit hard to come by. My point is not that YOU need to see them, though: it's that your tutor needs to see them and to understand what the goal is.

    I recommend aiming for a score of 3 rather than 4 because test takers who aim for a 4 tend to get lost in their prose. The object in most tests of writing for teachers is not to write really striking prose: it's to write adequate prose that's structured and supported and reasonably correct.
     
  20. marchlily

    marchlily Rookie

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    May 29, 2013

    insightful
     

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