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CBEST stands for California Basic Educational Skills Test. The exam is a four hour test required by the state of California for all prospective teachers. The test was created in response to concerns about the deteriorating quality of education in Californiaís public schools. The Golden State used to be at or near the top of all 50 states when it comes to educational quality, as determined by various groups and standards. Some of these determinations were subjective, but most of them were entirely objective, and California excelled in all of them. The stateís schools were the envy of public school administrators across the entire country. But that is no longer the case. In fact, by many of the usual educational standards, California now has some of the worst schools in the country, ranking at the very bottom.
Of course, this deterioration did not occur overnight, but over a span of decades. When things began going downhill, parents, civic leaders, and policy advisers began calling on politicians to do something about the declining school quality. One of the responses to this public outcry was the creation of the CBEST. The animating idea behind this was that part of the reason education quality was declining was the presence of too many teachers in Californiaís classrooms who were patently unqualified to teach. There were rampant horror stories about parents receiving notes from teachers that were filled with spelling errors and terrible grammar. In other words, some graduates of four year education degree programs couldnít even perform to 6th grade standards. Not only had they not mastered their own subject matter, such as Spanish or Social Studies, they couldnít even handle basic reading, writing or arithmetic.
Thatís the background of the development of the CBEST. It has been in use for quite some time now, and while it has definitely weeded out some of the most unqualified potential teachers, so far it does not seem to have made much of a dent in the overall performance of California school children in various rankings, which are still near the bottom of the barrel in nearly every category. However, for the time being, the CBEST isnít going anywhere, and every aspiring public school teacher will have to pass it in order to receive a teaching license. Being fully prepared for the CBEST is an absolute necessity, as failure to pass can delay or destroy a long sought teaching career.
CBEST test breakdown
by Enoch Morrison
Last Updated: 05/08/2013
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