State eases testing requirements for teachers

Aspiring teachers are no longer required to take the California Basic Skills Test (CBEST) or the California Subject Matter Exams for Teachers (CSET) to earn their credential.

The relaxed rules, which were part of the new state budget, are “a game changer” for many teacher candidates who have been excluded by the test requirements, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Executive Director Mary Vixie Sandy said.

“These tests are meant to accurately measure readiness to begin teacher preparation, not to be a barrier that keeps potentially great teachers from learning to teach,” Sandy said. “We are eager to move forward with this shift in state policy. As alternatives to high-stakes testing these measures will right-size the role of testing and allow a broader and more diverse array of people to make a career out of teaching.”

Around 34% of people did not pass the CBEST in 2019-20 on their first try. The CSE has a first-time pass rate of around 67%, which means about one-third also failed.

To bypass the CBEST, candidates must earn a B or better in college coursework in reading, writing and mathematics. To bypass the CSET, candidates can use subject-specific college courses to demonstrate proficiency in a subject.

Teacher candidates are still required to take the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment and the California Teaching Performance Assessment.


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