CBEST Ranking and Bad Question

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by svasutin, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. svasutin

    svasutin New Member

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    Dec 20, 2005

    Hello everyone,
    I just recieved my CBEST scores for Math and Reading.

    Reading:55
    Math: 56

    The writting section will be available some time next year.
    I read the first post in this forum, and still don't know what this means in terms of good/bad; although I am sure I will pass since I can't get lower than 20 on the last part.

    How important are the scores when apply for a job? Is there a percentile? and btw, each question cannot count for 2 pnts.

    I also have one more question. In my test book, for the math section, there was one question, which I am sure had no solution; not a very fair question. Things were made worse because there was no option for 'no solution', moreover, we are told to guess. Since one solution was not like the others, I choose the odd ball out, but it was still the wrong answer.

    Anyway, I am wondering how do I go about reporting this? Being forced to submit a wrong answer.

    Thank you.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Passing on each section of CBEST is 41 points; the aggregate required to pass is 123; and you can't score less than 37 on a section and still pass. svasutin, I think it's safe to predict that you're on track to pass.

    As far as I can tell, nobody gives a rat's elbow how well you do as long as you pass.

    Best bet with a bad question is to report it at the time of the test; proctors should have forms available for the purpose. Failing that, report it via the CBEST Web site - there should be some sort of contact page.
     
  4. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    FWIW the CBEST transcripts they send you to submit to potential employers only lists "PASS"--no numerical score. I seriously doubt anyone cares what the score was. You have to jump through a number of much more difficult hoops to get your credential. The purpose of CBEST is just to set a minimum bar to weed out those who really should not be teaching.

    I think it is a waste of time to report a "bad" question to NES. IMHO either you are mistaken about it being wrong, it is a matter of interpretation, it is wrong and has already been caught by NES and is ignored for scoring purposes, or it is a nonscored question that is being tested for possible inclusion in future tests. In any case, reporting it won't affect your score. Think about it. If it really is a "bad" question, far more than the expected number of test takers will get it wrong, and that should set off some alarms at NES.

    You cannot equate a question with a certain number of points. CBEST uses scaled scores so that a given scaled score indicates an equivalent level of knowledge/performance regardless of which form of the exam you took. This is necessary because no two forms of the exam will be of exactly the same difficulty for the simple reason that it is nearly impossible to devise two questions that are precisely the same level of difficulty.

    FWIW I, too, had a question on the math section that seemed to not have a correct answer. Maybe it was the same one as you had. I just chose the answer I though was closest to being correct.
     
  5. svasutin

    svasutin New Member

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    Dec 21, 2005

    Wow,
    Thank you TeacherGroupie and Malcolm for your quick responses.

    It is good to know the score is only pass/fail.

    As for the question, I did note it in my book, and asked the administrator, but she said she didn't know; that was during the test, and not after (finished early).

    I spent 30 minutes on the question, and later asked a Math professor the question, she came up with the same answer I did, no solution.

    Think I will go to the CBEST site - good idea.

    Thank you all again for your help and quick response. I'm going to try to file my paper work today.
     
  6. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2006

    Fellow teachers,

    I've been living abroad for many years and am now considering going back to my home state of California to do some teaching. I've just taken a practice CBEST exam on the Internet, and I'm having a little trouble interpreting the results. I only missed three questions out of fifty on the reading test, so I assume I'm okay there. Math has always been my bête noir, however, and I only scored thirty-three out of fifty on that section. I assume that is a failing score and that I need to brush up on my math skills. Am I right? Do I need to score at least forty-one out of fifty to pass? It seems I read that somewhere. Is there a place on the Internet where I could revise things like fractions and percentages?

    Thank you very much indeed for any advice you might be able to offer me.
     
  7. luckytesttaker

    luckytesttaker Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2006

    CBEST passing requirement is simply:

    Total 41x3=123 or higher with no subtest below 37.

    You can keep the highest score(s) and take only the subtest(s) that you want to improve (including the one you have already passed), until the total is 123 or higher (and no subtest below 37 of course).
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Ekdog, you're having trouble interpreting the results because they're a little complicated to interpret.

    lucky's correct that a full passing score on each section is 41, that a minimal pass is 37, and that you have to score 123 overall to pass. But that isn't 41 questions correct, 37 questions correct, or 123 questions correct: that's 41 scaled points, 37, scaled points, 123 scaled points.

    You see, your raw score (=questions correct) is converted by arcane formulas into a scaled score. Since there are 50 questions in each of the two multiple choice sections (and 10 of the questions are being tested for future tests and so don't count), it follows that each question counts for more than just one point. Exact values per question vary, because it's very hard to construct questions that are exactly equivalent in difficulty, but the bottom line is that the score of 41 that you need for each section is on the scale from 20 to 80. In other words, you need just over half of the available points to pass. Your score on the practice Reading section clearly has you in great shape, with points to spare, and since you're over 50%, you're doing fine on math too.

    And anyone who can use bete noir in a sentence without stumbling generally has what it takes to pass the essay. The chief things to remember there are that the scorers value structure over originality and that, if you write well, it's best not to get too fancy.

    Feel free to ask any other questions you have here: that's what this forum is for.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 16, 2006

    By the way, you've been working with Brits, haven't you?
     
  10. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    I would say to if you got 2/3 of the math questions correct you should be fine.

    There are a number of sites on the internet that might help you with math. Just do a search with the appropriate terms. Here is one site:

    Dr. Math
     
  11. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2006

    Thanks to all of you for the helpful responses.

    TeacherGroupie,

    Yes, I have been working with British colleagues and textbooks. What gave it away? I try to avoid using Briticisms.

    Malcolm,

    The site you've recommended looks like just what the doctor ordered. I'm going to have a look at it.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dr. Math is really good. And the resident A to Z math expert, innovationguy, once suggested looking for Java applets that demonstrate math points by going to Google and typing "[math term] applet" as a search term - for example, "tesselation applet".

    What gave you away was the question that Malcolm answered, where you asked for a site where you could "revise" fractions and percentages.

    Quick rundown on fractions:

    To add or subtract fractions, you have to have identical denominators (bottom numbers, or pieces into which the pizza is divided).

    To multiply fractions, multiply numerators (top numbers, the number of pieces of the pizza that you have) to get the new numerator and multiply denominators to get the new denominator. So 1/3 x 2/5 = 2/15. Where possible, cross-cancel before you multiply: if the numerator of one fraction has the same factor as the denominator of the other, divide both numbers by that factor before you proceed further. Given 2/3 x 3/4, that is, you can multiply to get 6/12 and then reduce, or you can cancel out the twos (leaving a 1 in the first numerator and a 2 in the second denominator) and the threes (leaving 1 in both second numerator and first denominator) and then multiply to get 1/2.

    To divide anything by a fraction, flip the fraction - which may only be the divisor, or second fraction) and then proceed as for multiplication. 1/3 divided by 5/2 = 1/3 x 2/5, and we already did that.

    Percentages are simply a special case of fractions where the denominator is 100. Think cents (or pence, if you prefer): if you've got 75% of a dollar, you've got 75 cents out of 100. Percent problems can be solved fairly handily by setting them up in a proportion, in which one fraction always represents the percentage and always has 100 percent (the whole) as its denominator and whatever the percentage is as its numerator; if you don't know the percentage yet, use the variable p. The other fraction has the whole quantity (as opposed to 100 for the whole percentage) as its denominator and the part as its numerator. If you've got 75% of $1.20, you can set that up as

    y/$1.20 = 75/100

    then solve by cross-multiplying to get 100y = $1.20 x 75 = 90, and divide by 100 to get $.90. Similarly, if you know you've got 90 cents out of $1.20, you can set the equation up as

    90/120 = p/100

    and solve for the percentage.

    This is definitely NOT the only way to solve percentages, however, and if Dr. Math provides something that you find more congenial, for heaven's sake go with it.

    Again, if you've got questions, feel free to ask 'em here.
     
  13. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    "What gave you away was ... where you asked for a site where you could 'revise' fractions and percentages."

    LOL! I'll have to review my use of certain terms.

    Hey, your explanation of fractions was outstanding. I'm sure a few of those tricks (like how to divide fractions, which I'd completely forgotten) will raise my score substantially.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Another good trick is to compare fractions by pairing 'em up and crossmultiplying. So if you've got 5/6 and 4/7 and you can't tell which is bigger just by looking at them, put them side by side like so:

    5 . 4
    6 . 7

    (ignore the periods; they're just there to make space between the fractions, since A to Z doesn't seem to like blank spaces). Multiply 5 (numerator of 5/6) times 7 (denominator of 4/7) and put the result, 35, under the fraction whose numerator you nicked. Then multiply 4 (from 4/7) times 6 (from 5/6) and put 24 under the fraction with the 4. 35 is more than 24, and 35 is under 5/6, so 5/6 is the greater fraction.
     
  15. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2006

    Cool!
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Responding with "Cool!" (or something very like it) is one of the great predictors for passing tests..., not to mention that the little lightbulb going on generates heat to warm the cockles of my TeacherGroupie-ly heart.

    Please don't hesitate to ask more questions.
     
  17. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    "Please don't hesitate to ask more questions."

    Okay, how about reviewing percentages with me? There are 176 men and 24 women serving the 9th Precinct. What percentage of the 9th Precinct's force is women?
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Okay, so how many people are on the force all together?
     
  19. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2006

    200
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Right. So we're looking for the percentage of women, right?

    You can use the proportion I suggested above to solve this. Let me express it a little differently:

    part . . . part percent
    whole = 100% . . . (that is, 100% is the whole thing)

    (Please read the equals sign as being half a line higher than it shows.) We don't know the percentage of women, so that's going to be p%, and we already know that the denominator HAS TO correspond to the whole force, which is to say 100% of the force. So the second fraction will be p/100.

    As to the first fraction, we know the total number in the force is 200. That's 100% of the force, yes? So that goes in the denominator of the first fraction. And the remaining open slot (the numerator of the first fraction) is where the women go, all 24 of them, yielding the fraction 24/200.

    And our fraction at present is

    24 . . p
    200 = 100

    To solve, if the relationships between the numbers don't just jump out at you, cross-multiply: 24(100) = 200p, divide both sides by 200, and you get 12.

    Notice in this case that we've got 24/200. A good test taker will look at those numbers, realize that 200 is 100 x 2, remember that percentage is always out of 100, and will simply divide 24 by 2 to get 12. But there's nothing wrong with doing it the long way.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oh, heavens, I hate trying to do fractions here!
     
  22. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    My MSers love it when they find out that the number one rule for dividing fractions is - 'DON'T'. They crack up and never forget the invert and multiply rule. They also appreciate knowing that if they can say a decimal name as so many hundredths, then they automatically know what the percentage is. I like to have them translate verbal questions word for word into algebraic equations. When they see they word percent, they know it means out of 100 or over 100.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Bravo!
     
  24. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    Okay, great. If you don't mind, I'll be back later with some more problems.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Let me set you two problems, just to check:

    1. 30% of the students in the fourth grade have red hair. There are 50 students. How many redheads are there?

    2. 30% of the students in fifth and sixth grades have red hair. 50 have red hair. How many fifth and sixth graders are there?
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    While I think of it, here's a good tip on dividing by fractions:

    Any time you're dividing by a number that is less than 1, the result WILL be more than you started with. If, for example, the problem is 4 divided by 1/3, the answer HAS to be more than four - you can think of this in terms of the number of pieces of pizza you end up with, if each of four pizzas is cut into three pieces. (As stupid as that would be, with a large pizza...) You'll end up with 12 pieces, yes? And this is a very useful tip for the CBEST taker, because it will help you eliminate between one and four stupid possible answers (depending on the exact question) without doing a lick of calculation.
     
  27. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    1. 15 redheads.

    2. 50/x=30/100 Am I on the right track?
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    1. Yup! Bravo!

    2. Yes, indeedy! Now keep going... in this case there aren't any cute number relationships to help you out, so you're going to have to do this the long way.
     
  29. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a muddle. What are the steps to take from there?
     
  30. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    You got this far:
    and I said you were doing fine. Now it's just a matter of solving the proportion, just as we did before:

    50 . . . 30
    x . . . . 100

    Cross-multiply to get 5000 = 30x. Then, we want x by itself, so divide both sides by 30: 5000/30 = 166.66, but there can't be a partial member of the force, so round down to the nearest whole body, or 166.
     
  31. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    You're right with me. This is exactly what I taught today in pre-algebra.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Got anything to add, Upsadaisy, to help get Ekdog sorted out?
     
  33. Ekdog

    Ekdog Rookie

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    Okay. I actually had the right answer, but I thought I'd done something wrong when I came up with a fractional part of a person. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Are you a math teacher?
     
  34. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Not primarily, though it comes with the turf.
     
  35. Anne.

    Anne. Rookie

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    Wow!! Thank you so much for the explanations on fractions and percentages, TeacherGroupie! I'm set to take the CBEST tomorrow and I'm trying to cram right now and the problems really helped!
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    This is very much a blast from the past, Anne., but I'm glad it was helpful. Are you tackling the whole enchilada, or what?
     
  37. Anne.

    Anne. Rookie

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    I totally get it, Ms. TG (since I have a feeling that you might be older than me...=). I always forgot which number went where and where my x was supposed to be, but now I have the picture of the formula in my head. Yay!
     
  38. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    No worries: around here, I answer to "TG".

    A picture of the formula in your head, eh? Sounds good; please make a point, when you get stuck on a question, of trying to draw a picture of what it's getting at. You may find that helps you get unstuck.
     
  39. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

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  40. katsmeoow

    katsmeoow Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2014

    :help: hello teachergroupie would you suggest a class or study guide that would help someone with the cbest?
     
  41. breakfree

    breakfree New Member

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    It may sound stupid...

    Hi, everybody!
    I have just registered and paid :) the CBEST fee. I was wondering what exactly I could with it if I pass. I used to be a teacher back home, in Europe, and I must admit I am not very, very familiar with the system here. Would it be possible to get a teaching job if I pass this test? Would I need anything else beside it? Thank you so much!!!
     

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