The California Subject Exams for Teachers, or CSET test series for short, is actually a group of exams created by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) and administered by National Evaluation Systems (NES) that are used to determine if an individual possesses the knowledge necessary to be a competent teacher within the California public school system. These California teaching certification exams are designed to assess teaching skills and are required in order to become a certified teacher within the state of California.
The CSET test series includes four primary types of exams, which includes the CSET Preliminary Educational Technology exam, the CSET Single Subject exams, CSET Multiple Subject exams, and CSET Writing Skills exam. The Preliminary Educational Technology exam covers information related to using computers, educational software, and other technology in the classroom including specifically the basic operation, concepts, and issues related to using educational technology. Each Single Subject exam covers a specific topic such as agriculture, art, business, English, basic mathematics, health, home economics, industrial and technology education, American Sign Language, a variety of specific foreign languages, advanced mathematics, music, physical education, general science, specialized science, and the social sciences.
The Multiple Subject exams each cover a combination of important topics including an exam for reading, language, literature, history, and social science topics, an exam for science and mathematics, and an exam for physical education, human development, and visual and performing arts. The Writing Skills exam is designed to assess essay-writing ability specifically related to expository and expressive writing. Most of the CSET exams consist of primarily multiple-choice questions, but they may also include essay portions, spoken portions, performances or samples of your artistic ability, and other similar testing methods depending on the specific exam. The Writing Skills exam has no multiple-choice questions, but instead requires the exam-taker to write two essays, one of which is an expository essay and one that is an expressive essay.
The exam-taker will have five hours to complete each exam with the exception of the American Sign Language exam, which includes a videotaped demonstration portion that may vary in length. Each exam is scored on a scale of 100-300 with 220 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. To register for any CSET test, you must contact NES through the CSET website, by phone, or by mail and complete a registration form. The registration fee for each exam ranges from $35-$105 each, but virtually every type of certification requires more than one CSET exam. The specific CSET exams that are required in order to achieve certification within the state of California vary depending on the subject areas that you intend on teaching. Usually, individuals seeking an educator certification within the state of California can expect to take a single subject exam, all three multiple subject subtests, and the writing skills exam or a single or multiple subject exam and the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). There may also be other fees and exams in addition to those associated with the CSET exams, including the CBEST if the individual chooses to take the CBEST to meet the basic skills examination requirement, in order to be certified in the particular subject that the individual is interested in teaching.