CBEST Score Information: Passing & Average Scores

What Is the Passing Score for the CBEST?

The passing score for CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) is a total of 123. This CBEST passing score is derived from the scores achieved on each of the three subtests (reading, writing, and mathematics) that make up the CBEST exam. If the score in any of these sections is below 37, the candidate won't pass the CBEST exam regardless of a total score of 123 or above.

What Is the Average CBEST Score Range?

The original scores in the writing section can range from 4 to 16. The average scaled score for each section might be between 20 and 80.

What Are CBEST Scaled Scores?

The original scores in each of the three subtests are converted to scores on a standardized scale. These new scores are called scaled scores. The total score of the CBEST is calculated by adding the scaled scores in each subtest.

What Is the CBEST Passing Rate?

A 2018 report from California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing indicated that, as of the 2016-2017 testing year, 66.8% of test-takers passed all three CBEST subtests on their first attempt. Eighty percent passed the reading subtest on their first try, while 78.3% passed the math subtest the first time they took it. Only 66.9% passed the writing test on their first attempt.

How Do I Pass the CBEST?

To pass the CBEST, individuals will need to get a scaled score of at least 41 on each subtest.

It is possible to pass the CBEST with a lower score on one or two of the subtests by fulfilling two requirements. The first requirement is that they have a scaled score of 37 or more on every subtest. The second condition is that their total combined score still adds up to at least 123.

This means that test-takers who score 37 through 40 on up to two subtests can still pass the CBEST if they earn a high enough score on their third subtest to make up the point difference and bring up their total score to 123.

What Do I Do If I Don't Pass the CBEST?

Individuals who do not pass the CBEST on their first try can retake one or more subtests as many times as they want. Retakes for the computer-based tests are allowed only after 45 days since the last attempt. If you wish to retake the test, you must re-register for the test with full payment and schedule a test date.

Individuals who took all three subtests together do not need to retake any subtest that they passed. Their new subtest scores from a retake will be combined with the passing scores from other subtests they already took. However, it is beneficial to retake an already-passed subtest to increase your chances of scoring 123 and above.

How Do I Cancel CBEST Results?

It is not possible to cancel the results of a computer-based CBEST test. However, if you took a paper-based test and feel you did not perform well, then you can opt for score cancellation. For this, you have to submit a written request and a score cancellation form at Evaluation Systems within a week from the date of the test. The score cancellation forms are made available at the test centers.

Individuals who cancel test results are not eligible for a refund. They also will not receive a score report.

How Do I Prepare for the CBEST?

The fact that more than 30% of CBEST test-takers fail on their first try indicates how important it is for test-takers to have enough time to study for their subtests before they take them. Individuals preparing for the CBEST subtests can take advantage of the CBEST Test Prep: Practice & Study Guide, a self-paced course with over 130 lessons designed to help individuals review information for all three CBEST subtests.

Prospective teachers preparing for the writing subtest can take advantage of the CBEST Writing: Practice & Study Guide, which has over 50 self-paced lessons. The CBEST Reading: Practice & Study Guide contains more than 20 lessons designed to help test-takers prepare for the reading subtest. Those who are getting ready to take their math subtest can work through 50-plus lessons offered in the CBEST Math: Practice & Study Guide.