CTP 5 Test (Comprehensive Testing Program) from ERB
What is the ERB-CTP® 5 Test?
The ERB-CTP® 5 is a test for high-achieving students and is given at private and public schools nationwide. It is used to collect basic information about student achievement and ability in the areas of the English language (reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills) and mathematics. Students in Grades 1 through 11 take the CTP 5 (Comprehensive Testing Program) assessment.
The Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) is a rigorous assessment for high achieving students that is administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). Commonly referred to as the ERB-CTP, this test is used across the United States, and is particularly popular in private and select public schools, as well as in independent schools internationally.
The ERB-CTP 5, the latest version of the test, is designed to measure a student’s abilities in key academic areas such as reading, listening, vocabulary, writing, and mathematics. The content of the test is constantly updated to reflect the changing standards in education and the skills that students need to be successful in the 21st century.
The ERB-CTP 5 is unique because it assesses not only a student’s skills in these academic areas, but also their reasoning abilities. The test includes both multiple choice and open-ended questions, requiring students to apply their knowledge and think critically.
It is not one test, but a battery of subtests consisting of a series of multiple-choice and optional constructed-response questions. It is administered in either fall or spring. It can be given online or pencil to paper.
The test is administered over several days and is divided into subtests. Each subtest focuses on a specific academic area, allowing educators to gain a comprehensive understanding of a student’s academic strengths and areas for improvement.
The results from the ERB-CTP 5 can provide valuable information to teachers, administrators, and parents about a student’s academic performance. This information can be used to guide instruction, identify students who may need additional support or enrichment, and track a student’s academic growth over time.
When is the ERB-CTP 5 test given to students?
Grade Level When Given in Fall. During the fall window, the school will usually test at one grade level below the grade the child is in as they are testing for mastery of content knowledge from the previous year. For example, a child in Grade 4 will most likely test at Level 3 during the fall window. The fall testing period typically occurs at the beginning of the school year, often in September or October. The purpose of the fall testing period is to assess the students’ knowledge and skills at the start of the academic year. The results can provide teachers with valuable baseline data that can help them understand each student’s strengths and areas for improvement. This information can then be used to tailor instruction to meet the unique needs of each student, set individualized learning goals, and determine necessary supports or interventions.
Grade Level When Given in Spring. During the spring window, the school will most likely test at the same level as the grade the child is in as the school is testing for content knowledge of the current year. For example, a child in Grade 6 will test at Level 6 during the spring window. The spring testing period typically takes place towards the end of the school year, often in April or May. The spring test allows teachers, administrators, and parents to measure the students’ progress and growth over the course of the year. By comparing the results of the spring test with those of the fall test, educators can evaluate the effectiveness of instruction and interventions, identify areas where students may still be struggling, and plan for instructional needs for the following year.
In both testing periods, the ERB-CTP 5 seeks to provide a comprehensive and detailed understanding of a student’s academic abilities. This enables schools to ensure that their educational practices are effectively meeting the needs of their students, and that every student is receiving the support and enrichment necessary to foster their academic growth.
|Current Grade Level
Fall to Spring:
|N/A to 1
|1 to 2
|2 to 3
|3 to 4
|4 to 5
|5 to 6
|6 to 7
|7 to 8
ERB-CTP Online and Paper-Based Test
The ERB-CTP5 Online Test
This is an adaptive test. It is computer-based and contains ELA, math, and science subtest sections (science for grades 3-9 only). Each CTP Online test consists of two parts: Stage 1 and Stage 2. For a specific content area, all students are given the same Stage 1 questions. How well a student performs in Stage 1 will determine what level of questions he/she will be given during Stage 2. Students who can handle harder questions are routed to more difficult questions during Stage 2. Students who can’t handle harder questions are routed to less rigorous questions in Stage 2.
Within each section (e.g. ELA, math), the Content Mastery Score takes into account whether a student answers the question correctly and difficulty level of the items they answered. The CTP Online test differs from the CTP 5 test in that it is adaptive, and students will not receive the exact same questions. The adaptive testing available online provides a more precise measurement of a student’s abilities. The computer-based version of the CTP test is automatically timed online.
The ERB-CTP 5 Paper-Based Test
This version was developed in 2018. The main difference between this test and its predecessors is that it assesses not only content-based curriculum performance but also has questions with increased complexity and critical thinking skills. CTP 5 consists of ELA and math subtest sections. It is presented in a multiple-choice format with an optional open-ended question format. Students in early grades take the test under untimed conditions and mark their answers in the test booklet. Students in the middle and upper grades take CTP 5 under timed conditions and mark their answers on a separate answer sheet. The time limits are generous, and all but a few students are able to complete the test in the time allowed. There is also an option for schools to include open-ended reading comprehension and mathematics questions in the test that provides full, partial, or no credit.
There is no wrong answer penalty on the CTP 5 or CTP Online test. Students are encouraged to answer every question.
For both the CTP 5 and CTP Online test, each question is assigned its own DOK (Depth of Knowledge) level. In short, this is a measure of the difficulty level of the question.
Sections of the ERB-CTP5 Test
English Language Arts:
The ERB-CTP 5 test in English Language Arts (ELA) focuses on assessing a student’s abilities in key literacy skills, including reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and listening. The test is designed to evaluate not only a student’s knowledge and understanding of these areas, but also their ability to apply, analyze, and evaluate information.
This test incorporates different Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels, which refer to the complexity of mental processing that must occur to answer a question, perform a task, or generate a product.
DOK 1 – At the DOK 1 level, students are expected to recall or recognize facts, terms, and basic concepts. In the context of the ELA test, this might include identifying the correct meaning of a word in a sentence, recognizing correct punctuation, or recalling details from a text. These questions are typically straightforward and don’t require complex reasoning.
DOK 2 – At the DOK 2 level, students must use some mental processing, but it is not as complex as at higher levels. In ELA, this could include interpreting the meaning of a metaphor in a text, making predictions based on information in the text, or identifying the main idea of a passage. These tasks require students to make some decisions about how to approach the question or problem, but the mental processing is still relatively straightforward.
DOK 3 – At the DOK 3 level, students are required to engage in more complex reasoning, planning, and thinking. In ELA, this might include analyzing the relationship between different elements of a text, evaluating the validity of an argument, or writing a well-structured essay in response to a prompt. These tasks require students to use evidence, consider multiple variables, and engage in higher-order thinking.
The ERB-CTP 5 test in ELA is designed to provide a comprehensive picture of a student’s literacy skills, incorporating all three DOK levels to accurately assess a student’s understanding, application, and critical thinking skills in English Language Arts.
Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning:
The ERB-CTP 5 test in Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning is designed to measure a student’s understanding and application of mathematical concepts, as well as their problem-solving abilities. The test assesses a wide range of mathematical areas, including number sense, operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis. The questions are designed to capture varying levels of Depth of Knowledge (DOK).
DOK 1 – At the DOK 1 level, students are required to recall or recognize mathematical facts, definitions, terms, and simple procedures. For instance, they may be asked to perform simple calculations, recognize geometric shapes, or recall basic mathematical properties. These tasks require minimal cognitive processing beyond recall and recognition.
DOK 2 – DOK 2 involves some degree of mental processing. At this level, on the ERB-CTP 5, students might need to classify or sort items, interpret data from a simple graph, or solve word problems that require a direct application of a known procedure. These tasks require students to make decisions on how to approach the problem but are still quite structured and generally have a single correct response.
DOK 3 – At the DOK 3 level, students are expected to engage in more complex reasoning and problem solving. In the context of the Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning test, this might include solving multi-step problems, making conjectures, or justifying a solution method. These questions require students to engage in higher-level thinking, planning, and analysis.
The ERB-CTP 5 test in Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning integrates all three DOK levels to present a comprehensive assessment of a student’s mathematical abilities. The goal is to measure not only their knowledge of mathematical facts and procedures but also their ability to apply this knowledge in problem-solving situations and reason mathematically.
Karen Quinn, the Testing Mom, breaks it down for you below. What is the CTP Test?