The California CBEST Test

CBEST stands for “California Basic Educational Skills Test”. The CBEST™ was created to meet the requirements by law for teacher credentialing and employment. The CBEST is not replacing any other requirement for practicing teaching and applicable experience or credential issuance.

The CBEST assesses basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills required for being an educator. In no way is the test designed to measure or assess an applicant’s ability to teach these academic subject fields.

Since the inception of the CBEST, new tests have been added by the test’s developer, Pearson, to verify that educators meet criteria adopted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). The CBEST is also used by the Nevada Department of Education to measure educators’ basic mathematics, reading, and writing skills in English.

The CBEST allows, in line with the California Education Code, teacher candidates and educators to demonstrate academic proficiency in basic mathematics, reading, and writing.

In California, teacher candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in these basic skills if they apply for their first education or teaching credential. Also, teachers applying for a renewal of their Emergency Permit (like a Provisional Internship Permit, Short-Term Staff Permit, or a 30-Day Substitute Teacher Permit) are required to take the CBEST unless they are already holding valid California educational credentials for which baccalaureate degrees are required.

Applicants for a job as a teacher in California must also meet CBEST basic skills requirements just like applicants to an official CTC-accredited education prep program or services credential program unless they are already holding valid California teaching credentials for which baccalaureate degrees are required.

Applicants can only sit for the CBEST if they are holding, at minimum, a high school or GED diploma or an equivalent of that, or if they are (or were) students taking academic credit-bearing courses in education at an accredited institution of higher education.

Check out also this post about the PARCC Test.

Who is exempted?

The following are examples of exemptions from taking the CBEST:

  • Applicants re-issuing, renewing or upgrading their existing non-emergency credentials, certificates, or permits unless the requirement is specifically indicated
  • Applicants who hold credentials to educate adults in apprenticeship programs
  • Applicants seeking permits to teach at children’s centers
  • Applicants seeking credentials to teach a specific subject that doesn’t require a baccalaureate degree. This includes 30-Day Substitute Vocational Education Permits for Designated Subjects
  • Applicants seeking credentials to provide health services (unless the document authorizes teaching activities)
  • Applicants seeking credentials to teach only an American Indian language
  • Applicants seeking added authorizations to their teaching credentials. This is not applying to applicants holding teaching credentials that do not require baccalaureate degrees and who seek credentials for teaching authorization that requires the degree.
  • For applicants who are prelingually deaf, some certifications do not require taking the CBEST. These applicants can hold credentials restricted to work in special classes or at state special schools for students who are hearing impaired or deaf. A holder of this sort of credentials is required to take a specific job-related assessment rather than the CBEST.
  • Applicants who hold a Certificate of Clearance required for practice teaching
  • Applicants holding an Eminence Credential

Alternative options

In California, the Education Code requires education candidates to meet the Basic Skills Requirements through one of these eight available options:

    1. Pass the CBEST test.
    2. Pass a basic skills exam issued in another state.
    3. Pass the three CSET subject tests (including CSET Writing Skills).
    4. Demonstrate proficiency in both the Mathematics and English sections of the CSU (California State University) Early Assessment Program (EAP) attaining “Exempt” or “College Ready” scores on each section.
    5. Demonstrate proficiency in both of the CSU (California State University) placement exam: the Entry-Level Math Test (ELM) and the English Placement Test (EPT). At the EPT, applicants are required to achieve a score of at least 151 and on ELM, a minimum score of 50 is required.
    6. Attain at least the following scores on the College Board SAT exam: 500 on the English SAT exam and 550 on the Math SAT exam.
    7. Attain at least the following scores on the ACT exam: 22 on the English ACT exam and 23 on the Math ACT exam.
    8. Attain at least the following scores on the College Board AP (Advanced Placement) exam: 3 on the AP English exam and 3 on the AP Calculus or AP Statistics exam.
  1. It is not possible to combine sections from different exams. Candidates are required to pass one of the options in their entirety. Applicants that use only the CSU exams, however, are allowed to combine their scores from the EPT/ELM and EAP exams as long as they have passed a section of Mathematics and English. Regardless of which option is used, once applicants have passed a basic skills exam, their scores are valid indefinitely.

Disclaimer: MyCareerTools is not endorsed by or affiliated with CBEST. CBEST is a registered trademark used here solely for identification purposes.