Should I take the CBEST writing section again?

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by JenH, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. JenH

    JenH Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 3, 2005

    Hello! I'm a new member, but have profited from others' postings for some time. I hope someone will have advice as to whether I should try to improve my writing score on the CBEST. I earned a 53, and while I know this is a passing score, I'm concerned about the impression it may give when I apply to a credential program. My reading score was 80, and my math was 60, making the 53 look low in contrast. I find this score surprising, since writing is where my talent lies. It could have something to do with the fact that I found both of the essay topics very uninteresting! In any case, as I want to earn a credential to teach high school English, I wonder whether this score will harm my chances either with education school admissions or with hiring? I know this score doesn't accurately reflect my writing ability (especially in comparison with the math score!), and so I would be willing to take the exam again if it's advisable. Thanks to anyone who replies!
     
  2.  
  3. WonderW05

    WonderW05 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 4, 2005


    Congratulations on passing the test first of all! You asked if you score would harm your chance with admission to the credentialing program or during hiring? No they only want to know if you passed the test. They only look at the little card and the transcripts that indicate that you pass. That is it! They never ask what scores your received on the three sections. I would give yourself a big pat on the back and focus on the next process of getting into the program. GOOD LUCK! Don't forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Nov 4, 2005

    JenH, sweetie, WonderW05 is absolutely right.

    Anyone who bothers looking at your CBEST scores will be so tickled with the 80 in Reading Comprehension combined with the 60 in Math that the 53 in essay writing will not even matter. Think about it: people who get scores like that know how to take standardized tests and presumably can teach people how to take standardized tests - and administrators will chortle and rub their hands together at the prospect of an English teacher doing very good things for their school's API and AYP.

    It's pretty common for talented writers to score below what they expect, because one way or another the talented writer tends to get carried away and misunderstand the real task, which is to write a very structured five-paragraph high-school essay on a set topic.

    Come to think of it, I'm not even sure you'd be ALLOWED to retake any part of CBEST at this point, since you've passed all three sections.

    So you're worrying way too much: relax and have some chocolate.
     
  5. JenH

    JenH Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 4, 2005

    Thank you!

    Thanks so much to WonderWO5 and to TeacherGroupie for your quick and reassuring responses! I feel much better now. I'll be taking part of the CSET tomorrow, so it's great to know that I can stop thinking about the CBEST. Thanks again!
     
  6. WonderW05

    WonderW05 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 4, 2005

    Good Luck!


    Good Luck! I send you nothing but luck and best wishes! Be sure to post back to us on the CSET site after tomorrow. I am taking it in January.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Nov 4, 2005

    If you're taking Subtests I or II, feel free to use what you learned/did for CBEST in CSET: the Reading Comprehension skills are vital in understanding question and dealing with grammar, and there's lots of duplication in the math.

    Just make sure your constructed responses AREN'T essays, at least not in the CBEST sense.
     
  8. Ted Pack

    Ted Pack New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 5, 2006

    Greetings. I have the same problem.

    I scored 80 on the English, 71 on the math and a miserable 47 on the writing.

    I've sold free-lance articles. I wrote roughly half of a 97-page church web site, including all of a FAQ page so popular that 5 other churches in my denomination copied parts of it. Part of my personal site, which gives advice about Christmas news letters, gets 1,000 visits a day during the Christmas news letter season. I was shocked by the 47.

    Do they marked off for penmanship? I haven't written anything longer than "Alice called. Call her back at 555-1234" by hand in 20 years. Or, did they want a 5-paragraph essay:
    1) I'm going to tell you A, B and C.
    2) A . . .
    3) B . . .
    4) C . . .
    5) I have told you A, B and C.

    Thank you.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Sep 5, 2006

    Ted, see what I wrote to JenH. Nobody is going to turn a hair at your writing score, given that you whupped CBEST's butt in reading and math, AND given that that 47 is a certified full passing score. Please take a moment and, kindly and gently, tell your wounded pride to give it a rest, all right?

    (If it's any consolation, when I took CBEST I too scored rather worse on the essay than I expected to, and I too suffered. And I too, it is safe to say, am a pretty good writer and perhaps a better editor/proofreader. Sigh.)

    And, yes, what's wanted is EXACTLY the five-paragraph essay that you sketch out. Is it great writing? Heck, no. But it's structured and controlled and ADEQUATE.

    So congratulate yourself for passing, and look ahead to the next challenge, please.
     
  10. Ted Pack

    Ted Pack New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 5, 2006

    Thank you. I'll hold my shoulders a little straighter as I trudge home tonight.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Sep 6, 2006

    There you go.
     
  12. mafeca70

    mafeca70 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2007

    Hi to everyone! This is my first time writing here. My scores in the CBESTweren't as good as I expected but again, I took too long on the reading section. I believe I was out of practice? I got a 40 in reading and a 38 in maths, kind of embarrasing after reading other people's scores. I am taking writing on the 11th and probably re-taking the maths section later on since I know I can score higher. Is that advisable?
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Aug 3, 2007

    Welcome to A to Z, mafeca70. You revived a thread that's been dormant for a long time.

    Your scores on reading and math are minimal pass scores and they add up to 78. If you score 45 on the essay section, that's 123 points - and that's all you need for passing.

    CBEST essays need not be enormous affairs: the passing samples on the CBEST Web site are shorter than the recommended essays in most of the standard CBEST-preparation books. So you may well find you'll have time left over to tackle the math again, and if you do, it might not hurt to hedge your bets by doing so. On any California teacher test, your highest score is your score of record, and taking the essay section means you've paid for the whole CBEST, so you really do have nothing to lose.
     
  14. mafeca70

    mafeca70 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2007

    Thanks for your prompt response!! Hopefully I score more than 45!! I already went through the book "Learning Express", which, by the way, I find extremelly useful! I am now reading as much as I can in order to get ideas to write about different topics. Sometimes it's not the structure of an essay that conflicts writers, but what to say and what evidence/examples to give. I recommend reading as a basis to writing. Do you have any recommendation as to what else should I resort to? Is there any website that can help me with the writing of essays, not the structural side, but more how to relate/get ideas? Maybe the presentation of outlines for different topics that I could base my essays on? Too much to ask??
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Aug 7, 2007

    The persuasive essay gives an issue and you're to take one side and defend it. To find things to write, think about what groups are affected by the issue and how they're affected.

    The personal essay invites you to tell a story or describe a person in order to make the point that the prompt is about. You'll have to think of the story (though it need not actually be a true one).

    A good bet for either is to brainstorm about issues or points that could come up. Education issues and settings are common, though there are certainly other possibilities.

    Try finding issues here on A to Z and writing or brainstorming about them...
     
  16. hsmathman

    hsmathman New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 29, 2009

    Resurrecting an old thread to report a similar story...

    Got an 80 reading, 69 math, and 53 writing.

    The minimum total score is 123 and minimum individual score is 37. There is no point in retaking a CBEST if these are achieved.

    Your transcripts, recommendations, and other factors will be much more important going for the job.

    Still, when I first got the result, I was as miffed as some of the others in the thread. One thing I found is that the essays receive a single purely "subjective score" (0, 1, 2, 3, or 4) from two graders on a first pass. If this results in a passing score, it is not further evaluted. Only if it isn't passing is the score broken down by the criteria for essays.

    So you might have some lazy evaluators giving out 2's like candy. (The score of 53 basically means I got 2, 2, 2, and 3 or some other combination adding up to 9 of a total possible 16.)

    For comparison, I got an 800 Verbal and 760 Math as a high school student on the SAT in 1998 (old scoring).
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Jun 30, 2009

    I don't think it's a matter of lazy evaluators as such, hsmathman, nor of subjectivity. The scorers are using the rubrics laid out on page 2 of the CBEST Score Information document (it can be downloaded from http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/pdfs/CB_ISR_INSERT.pdf). These are fairly specific as to the attributes of an essay that scores 4 as opposed to an essay that scores 2. Scorers participate in training sessions, which include scoring sets of sample essays with the goal of getting uniform scores from all of the scorers. In addition, if two scorers differ by more than one point in the score that they give an essay, a third scorer is brought in.

    The standardized-test five-paragraph formal essay doesn't produce the world's most engaging or personalized prose, but it does get information across in a fashion that is sufficient, efficient, and organized. While I definitely don't wish that everyone wrote that way all the time, I definitely do wish that some people wrote that way more than they do.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ssgirl11,
  2. Ima Teacher
Total: 349 (members: 2, guests: 326, robots: 21)
test