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What Are the Different CBEST® Scores?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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The California Basic Educational Skills Test™ (CBEST®) consists of three sections: reading, mathematics and writing. These sections make up the CBEST® scores. When these separate scores are added together, they make up the entire test score.

Each section of the test is scored separately on a scale of 20 to 80, with a passing score on any section being a scaled score of 41. To pass the CBEST®, the total score a person receives when the three different scores are totaled must equal at least 123. If a person receives a scaled score of 37 on any section, it is still acceptable and possible for him to pass the CBEST®, as long as his entire test score is no less than 123. Any score below 37 means a person does not pass that section of the test and, thus, he does not pass the CBEST®.

The CBEST® scores for the reading and mathematics sections are based on the total number of correctly-answered questions. The writing section is a bit different in that the score comes from how well a person wrote his two essays. The scoring for the writing section is done holistically on a four-point scale by at least two different people. For each essay, then, the score is a combination of two different scores. The entire writing section score consists of both essay scores eventually being added up and converted to comply with the score scale.

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To analyze the CBEST® scores further, within the reading and mathematics sections, a person tests in different skill areas. For example, in the reading section, a person tests on Critical Analysis and Evaluation and Comprehension and Research Skills. If a person does really well on one section and not as well on another, his score report will indicate so. This indication helps the person study for a certain skill area if he has to retake the section of the test. For the writing section, a diagnostic score will let a person know what needs to improve with his writing.

A person who passes the CBEST® does not need to retake the test. On the other hand, if a person passes two sections, but not the third, he will have to retake that third section to pass the CBEST®. It might even be a good idea to retake all three sections, though it is not necessary. This is because the highest score a person receives on each section is the score that is used to compute his entire test score. The highest CBEST® scores added together will give him the best opportunity to reach 123.

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