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About CBEST Writing

The Writing section of the CBEST assesses basic skills and concepts that are important in performing the job of an educator. One of the essay questions asks examinees to write about a remembered experience. The other requires analysis of a situation or statement to demonstrate analytic skills.

Since there are a total of four hours to complete all sections of the CBEST, most examinees evenly split roughly one hour into two 30-35 minute time frames. This is a guideline, however, and each writer should allocate his time accordingly depending on his strengths or weaknesses.

Each essay is evaluated immediately after each CBEST administration by at least two readers using a four-point score scale (see next page); the total essay score is derived by combining the two individual scores. To obtain the Writing section score, scores for both essays are summed and converted to the score scale of 20 to 80.

Graders will evaluate essays based on the following criteria:

I. Rhetorical Force: the clarity with which the central idea or point of view is stated and maintained; the coherence of the discussion and the quality of the writer's reasoning
II. Organization: the clarity of the writing and the logical sequence of the writer's ideas
III. Support and Development: the relevance, depth, and specificity of supporting information
IV. Usage: the extent to which the writing shows care and precision in word choice
V. Structure and Conventions: the extent to which the writing is free of errors in syntax, paragraph structure, sentence structure, and mechanics (e.g., spelling, punctuation, and capitalization)
VI. Appropriateness: the extent to which the writer addresses the topic and uses language and style appropriate to the given audience and purpose