Overall CBEST Passing Rates
Typically, less than 71% of individuals who take the CBEST examination pass on their first attempt.
Over the 5 academic years from 2012 to 2017, the highest first-attempt passing rate was 70.6% in the 2013-2014 school year. The lowest first-attempt passing rate was in 2016-2017, with just 66.8% of individuals passing the CBEST.
The 2012-2013 academic year had the highest cumulative passing rate at 88.4%, while the lowest cumulative passing rate for CBEST test-takers was 76.2% in 2016-2017. This indicates that typically 20%-24% of individuals taking the CBEST do not pass on their first or subsequent attempts.
Passing Rates for CBEST Subtests
Each subtest has different passing rates for initial and cumulative test attempts.
The CBEST Reading Subtest
The reading subtest typically has the highest passing rates for both initial and cumulative attempts. Over the 5 academic years reported on from 2012 to 2017, the first-time pass rate ranged from 79.2% in 2014-2015 to 81.5% in 2015-2016. Passing rates for cumulative attempts were between 83.1% in 2016-2017 and 87.8% in 2012-2013.
The overall initial passing rate over this 5-year period is 80.2%. The cumulative passing rate is 86.2%.
The CBEST Mathematics Subtest
Individuals taking the mathematics subtest typically performed almost as well as those taking the reading subtest. From 2012 to 2017, the highest passing rate on initial attempts was in the 2012-2013 school year, with a first-time passing rate of 80%. The lowest initial passing rate was 78.3% in 2016-2017. When looking at cumulative attempts, the passing rate rose to 88.2% in 2012-2013 and 82.3% in 2016-2017.
The cumulative passing rate from 2012-2017 is 86%, while the passing rate for first-time test-takers during this period is 78.9%.
The CBEST Writing Subtest
The performance of both first-time and cumulative test-takers on the CBEST writing subtest is the poorest of all 3 subtests. Looking at the same 5-year window from 2012 to 2017, initial test-takers passed 71.5% of the time, while the passing rate rose to 78.8% for cumulative testing attempts.
First-time and cumulative test-takers had the lowest passing scores in 2016-2017, with passing rates of 66.9% and 71.6% respectively. First-time test-takers performed best in 2013-2014, with 75.1% passing on their first try. Cumulative test-takers performed best in 2012-2013, when the passing rate reached 83.3%.
CBEST Test Resources
Individuals who are getting ready to take the CBEST can take advantage of reputable resources, such as the CBEST Test Prep: Practice & Study Guide Course, during the review period before their exam date to make sure they are among the percentage of test-takers who pass on their first attempt. This course contains 131 lessons. Individuals can work through them at their own pace and access the lessons anywhere they have an internet connection and tablet, smart phone or computer.
There are also specific prep courses designed for each of the CBEST subtests. Completing these courses can help prospective test-takers review all of the information that they will be tested on and familiarize themselves with the question formats and content areas for each CBEST subtest.