CBEST

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by cutie425, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 16, 2008

    Let me put it this way: writing a cookie-cutter essay makes it more obvious that the writer has command of ALL the basic elements of The Formal Five-Paragraph Essay.
     
  2. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2008

    I'm with Sam Aye M. I just hope I passed! I don't need perfect scores, just passing scores.
     
  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 16, 2008

    Absolutely. But some people do get a bit vocal about scores that aren't what they'd expected.
     
  4. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2008

    Thanks!

    Thanks. I needed that! :thanks:

    I'm going to be stressed out until I find out my scores. I wish I felt as confident as the other folks on here.




     
  5. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2008

    I had a friend say once, "Never expect anything, then you will never be disappointed. And when it happens, you will be overjoyed with surprise!" I've always thought it was true. I tend to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I have to keep going forward with the teaching program even though I don't know if I have passing scores for the CBEST. It makes it very difficult. I have the added pressure of financial problems with my loans, if I am not accepted this semester.
     
  6. SSA

    SSA Companion

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    Jun 17, 2008

    I'm not a English teacher, nor do I have an English degree, but I really find the "Five-Paragraph Essay" mantra of a lot of English teachers annoying.

    Is there some actual rationale behind it? When I took 10th grade honor English I was taught that a quality essay does NOT have to be five paragraphs. Strangely though almost every non-honors English class seems to teach HS kids to write a 5 paragraph essay. No less, no more. Is there some textbook that almost every teacher credentialing program in the country assigns that tells teachers to inculcate their students this way?

    Furthermore, why is the MLA citation method so popular? Virtually no book I have ever seen uses that citation system, except for the official MLA style guide and a few English textbooks that teach kids how to do MLA.

    OK, time for me to get off my soap box. Sorry for being a bit off-topic.

    Anyways, if I had to bet I would guess most people waiting for results passed.
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jun 17, 2008

    REAL writing does not fit in a five paragraph template. When I taught fifth grade, I, gasp, did not teach them or ever talk about the five paragraph essay method. I taught real writing. I taught them how to use descriptions, adverbs, adjectives, grammar, good beginnings, hooks, show not tell, etc, etc. So, I agree with what you had to say.

    But, like TeacherGroupie said, if we want to show them that we can write, we have to do it in the traditional cookie cutter method. Then, we can go back to real writing.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 17, 2008

    It's true that real writing doesn't fit in a five-paragraph format. I'm quite upfront with my students (who are older than your students) about that. But the format's useful when one has to bang out organized pedestrian prose, fast - I'm thinking letters home to parents, reports to (or from) principals or other superiors in the workplace, and the like - few of which are real writing in the sense that you most likely mean, Peachy. And the fact is that a decently written five-paragraph finger exercise will be received like manna in remarkably many quarters, because, while it isn't particularly graceful, it's clear and organized - and clarity and organization are much less common than one might hope.
     
  9. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jun 17, 2008

    I learned a long time ago to give 'em what they want, whether it is on tests or business proposals. It fits here. No use in arguing the point. If you give them what they want, you pass, if not, you don't. It is like the kid in my science class who, after we covered evolution, told me he did not belive in it because he was a Jehovah's Witness. I said "Fine, you don't have to believe it! You just have to be able to answer my questions on the test." And he did just fine on the test...

    FWIW I consider myself a very good academic/government/business writer. I have written inumerable memos, reports, proposals, requests for proposals, executive orders (for the governor to sign), etc. But I squeaked by with a 41 even though I used the five paragraph form because I just do not write this way very often and did not prepare at all for the exam except review the format.

    The writing portion of CBEST has no relation to what goes on outside of the classroom for the most part. OTOH, I would be quite happy if most of my students could actually produce a decent five paragraph essay. It is a good target for them to aim for on the road to being able to write something more complex.

    Remember, CBEST is simply a bar to keep people out of teaching who are totally ill-prepared. One would think that for anyone with a four year degree from an American university this test would be a cake walk. Unfortunately this is not always the case. For some folks, it is just a matter of not dealing with tests well. But some people seem to have managed to graduate without having mastered the basics of the 3Rs. Hence the need for CBEST...
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 17, 2008

    Exactly.
     
  11. SSA

    SSA Companion

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    I don't question the need for the exam at all. There certainly are some people with college degrees for whom either forgot certain basic skills over the years because they went to school decades ago or simply didn't learn some of those skills in the first place. I passed all the sections on the first try despite being a pretty average student so I will agree that the test isn't much of a barrier to teaching for those who really got a four year degree from an American university.

    We certainly wouldn't want kids things incorrectly because deprogramming kids from doing something the wrong way and reteaching them the correct way is harder than teaching them correctly in the first place. Nevertheless, I think the CBEST essay graders are a little too rigid on the format.

    I doubt many people fail the exam merely for being unorthodox by writing a non-5 paragraph essay, but I think it would be lame if someone would have passed if they merely wrote a 5 paragraph essay instead of a 4 or a 6 paragraph essay. If it is a factor in your score no matter how small, you have to imagine that there are some borderline fails that would have passed had they written the "right" number of paragraphs.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 19, 2008

    It would indeed be lame if a person were not to pass simply for having provided four or six paragraphs instead of five. I truly doubt that happens, considering the fact that the essay rubrics say nothing about a required number of paragraphs and considering also the sample essays on the CSET Web site.

    Think of "five-paragraph essay" as a name for a class of compositions with a clear thesis expressed somewhere in the document and paragraphs each of which deals with one and only one topic that supports the thesis. The number of paragraphs isn't especially important, provided there are enough to support the thesis.
     
  13. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2008

    Five more days to test results and counting!

    Five more days until unofficial test results! :whistle:
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2008

    tc10, if you're a chocolate eater, would you please go to your local Trader Joe's or Fresh & Easy and get yourself a nice 500g bar of whatever strength of chocolate suits you?

    It won't even break the bank.

    But the effort and the chocolate might give your conscious mind something to do other than pacing a groove in the floor of the mental waiting room.

    (Oh, and here's another hug.)
     
  15. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2008

    chuckle

    chuckle


    Well, I am trying to keep myself busy, yet I can't help but think about my CBEST scores and want to know the outcome. I will check into the chocolate bar though. :toofunny:

    However, now I am down to just a couple of days.:rolleyes: I spoke with the director of the program and it sounds like they are willing to work with me no matter what my score. I'm attending two more workshops this summer and filling my head with information about teaching. I can't wait to start my classes this fall. It is going to be fun! :party: This is mainly my concern: Getting into the program and getting started toward my goal!;)
     
  16. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    Jun 28, 2008

    tc, don't worry, ive been counting down too. Monday can't come fast enough.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 28, 2008

    Chocolate for you, too, Sam, or a nice margarita, or something of the like.

    And hugs all around to those who are waiting.
     
  18. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2008

    Thanks!

    Thanks TeacherGroupie and Sam Aye M. I've been trying to keep busy. Today I volunteered at the museum, which turned out very fun. One of the volunteers, who is very knowledgeable about the local history was watering plants at the museum, but she ended up talking about all sorts of history spanning from where the railroad line traveled to knuckle-head criminals, who couldn't keep their mouths shut about the crime they committed.:2up: It was a lot of fun and took my mind off the test scores. I think I just find it hard waiting to see if I am free and clear to get into the teaching program or not.:whistle:

    :hijack:It is strange when you have ridden your bike past a house and realized that the house looked old but you don't know the history of that house. I found out a house I used to notice when bike riding used to be an old hotel. I guess it was quite luxurious in its day. One of these summers I am going to take that walking tour of the historical homes so I can hear about all the old places, which are still located up in these mountains. My best friend and I keep saying we are going to go on the walking tour in Monterey because a lot of history is in that area too. My best advice is to stay busy, but Margaritas work too! :partyhat:
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 28, 2008

    tc10, I don't recall which test is next in your planning book, but if it's CSET-Multiple Subjects, your chatting up the docent and your plans to tour the homes are a perfectly valid part of the prep for Subtest I.

    People who notice like that and are interested in history often do just fine on basic skills tests. The more you post, the less I think you've got cause to worry about passing CBEST.
     
  20. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 29, 2008

    CSET and preparation

    Hi,

    I was told that I didn't need to take the CSET. Whether I will be required to take it later on, I don't know. It is good to know that my volunteer work might come in handy.

    Barbara Kennedy is more than a docent. She has actually written books about the historical homes in the area as well as written stories for the Santa Cruz Historical Journal. I really want to read her article in the next journal. She wrote the story from the perspective of someone traveling down the local waterways in 1915 in a canoe. It sounded wonderful! I really loved the idea and I thought she was very creative. She has so much knowledge that you can't help but become spell-bound by her stories. I wish I could work with Barbara more because she really gets people excited and interested in the museum.

    I was lucky yesterday because I not only had Barbara but I had some interesting patrons come into the museum. Sometimes you learn more from the patrons than anyone else. People tend to love sharing their own stories. The patron told me a story about an older woman showing up at her door the other day. The woman was about 90 something years old and she had a group of women with her. I believe the older woman, who had shown up at the patrons door was named Mabel and her sister was Bea. The home, which the patron owned, was built in 1937 and Mabel was the original owner. Mabel gave the patron copies of the original deed and pictures of the home in 1937. Mabel had purchased the home when she was 24 years old and she bought the house for $75.00. It was just fascinating to see the house as it was originally and to know the story of this young girl purchasing her first home. I mean, to imagine a 24 year old woman in that day purchasing her own home and owning her own property. She, her sisters and cousins, later used the property as a honeymoon suite. Mabel also pointed out a huge redwood tree on the property, which she had planted as a young woman. This was just a wonderful story to hear. The patron had the photos of her home as it was in 1937 and as it is now. She had pictures from the visit of Mabel, Bea, and Mabel's daughters. Also, she had the photos Mabel had given her of herself and her sister in 1937 at the house. Sometimes you just get lucky as a docent and have someone come in that has lots of information and they want to share it.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence on the CBEST.
     
  21. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 29, 2008

    What to read?

    :hijack:

    I'm hijacking the thread again. :sorry:

    I was looking on Amazon for books that might be good for the new teacher. There are numerous books, but I am having a difficult time deciding what might be most useful. Any suggestions?

    I will be teaching Middle School or High School. I liked The Organized Teacher but it seemed to be geared more for Elementary School teachers. Has anyone found a book that they thought was particularly helpful? Maybe something you read that you thought "I wish that I would have read this when I first started teaching" ? Thank you for suggestions.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 29, 2008

    Aww, tc10, give a poor beleaguered TeacherGroupie a break: take this to the Student & Preservice Teachers forum or to the Middle School/Junior High subforum under General Education, would you, pretty please?
     
  23. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    No problem

    No problem. Just thought you might know a book off the top of your head. :sorry:
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence, tc10... but for that, there are far better sources than I.
     
  25. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jun 30, 2008

    I PASSED!

    I PASSED! I PASSED! WHOOHOO! :2up: I PASSED THE CBEST! :party:
     
  26. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    Jun 30, 2008

    Me too. My lowest score was 68 (math), and my highest was 75 (writing). I never have to look at this test again!
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    tc10 and Sam Aye M, I am going to sit back smugly and try very hard to squelch the "I told you so" arising within me.

    Well done, both of you, but I'm not remotely surprised.
     
  28. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    Jun 30, 2008

    Look TG, no one likes an "I told you so," so you better not tell me so.

    Okay, I am jsut kidding.


    thanks.
     
  29. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (chuckling) Deft, Sam. You're welcome.
     
  30. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    Jul 1, 2008

    Hi all!

    I am Kathy and a newbie here.

    I really appreciate this board and how much information there is within the forums and how helpful the members are.

    I recently took the CBEST and here are my scores:

    Reading: 40
    Math: 40
    Essay: 39

    I know that the scores add up to 119 which means that I did not pass...yet. However, did I at least pass the Reading and the Math sections?

    I know the passing score is 41, however, a test taker can have a minimum score of 37 in any one section to pass. As long as the overall score is at least 123.

    Any help would be much appreciated, thank you!

    BTW, I am planning to re-take the reading & essay sections. I only need 4 more points!
     
  31. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    I think you aleady said it. By definition, 41 is a passing score on any section. However, if you can bring one section, or two of the sections combined, up just four points, you pass CBEST.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    You have minimal passes in all three areas, myownwoman. Doesn't matter how you get four more points - as long as you get 'em, you're done.

    Your score report shows diagnostics on the left side - the array of labels and plus marks. What are you seeing there?
     
  33. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    Alright thank you!
     
  34. tc10

    tc10 Rookie

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    Jul 2, 2008

    Hi Kathy

    I would check with CBEST to find out what you need to do next. I can tell you that I didn't review writing before I took the test and I was lucky that I remembered to put in the various components. On the persuasion paper remember to put in your points AND your counterargument with the "But" afterwards. I barely remembered to do this and I probably lost points for not making it as strong as I should have. Also, people here mentioned the 5 paragraph essay, which I also didn't think about. At least the next time you won't have to complete as much so you will have more time. Good luck! This is a great forum for advice. For the math part, I practiced every night after I came home from work and I attended a workshop, where I received great tips on the math section. I hope this helps. Also, I was able to get help here for the math on problems I didn't understand. The advice really helped. In fact, I scored the highest on the math section, the only section I studied.




     
  35. Artist823

    Artist823 Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    If I didn't do so well on my SATs in high school, does that mean I will need to study extra hard for the CBEST? Yes its been 5 years now, but still...I just feel nervous.

    (I just graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts. I took the required math class, but it was simple stuff. I tutored as an English tutor, so I think I'm confident enough with the reading and writing parts.)
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 11, 2008

    Which required math class? What did it cover?

    Take a look at the practice test on the CBEST Web site, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com. If you're pretty comfortable with the math that's on it, you're probably going to do fine.
     
  37. Artist823

    Artist823 Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2008

    In this math class, we started with the "how to plot a point on the X&Y graph", a little bit of geometry, basic algebra, some fractions. But the teacher made it really easy because many of the students hadn't taken a math class for years.
     
  38. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    Aug 29, 2008

    Well I took the CBEST again in August and here are my scores:

    Reading 41
    Math 40
    Writing 41

    Total 122

    So I am going to retake the reading and math sections. I am not too worried about the test this time around. I mean, I just need 1 more point.

    Then I can do some substitute teaching on the districts I have my eye on.
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sounds promising, myownwoman. Your printed score report should give some idea where to focus.
     
  40. tagalicod

    tagalicod New Member

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    Sep 18, 2008

    ;)Hi there! I wish I have been here on this site months ago when you posted this thread. I am thinking of taking CBEST.But I am scared as well with a lot of reasons:
    1) I am old already...50+
    2) I graduated from college 1975
    3) I have not practice teaching since 1989
    4) have heard enough heart aches not passing the test.
    NOW, tell me, are you still planning to take it? What review books can you recommend?

    Thanks
     

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