The ERB Explained

  • November 7, 2017

What is the ERB?

The ERB or CTP 4, is comprised of ten levels spanning grades 1-11.  The ERB is not an entrance exam, but an achievement test to ascertain how much students are learning.  There is no test named “the ERB.” Although parents, teachers, and school administrators often use this term to describe all ERB testing programs used by their school.  

Each of ERB’s four testing programs has its own name and is designed to evaluate content and skills taught in each grade level.  It is a standardized assessment test published by the Educational Records Bureau that schools use to evaluate their academic standing. It is a rigorous assessment of student achievement in reading, listening, vocabulary, writing, and mathematics. Verbal and quantitative reasoning skills are assessed as well. The ERB test is written by the same company that writes the ISEE – so the scaling system is the same (1-9).  Included is a sample score report for the ERB.

The ERB contains seven sections (5 of which are also on the ISEE):

    On ISEE:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Math Achievement

    Not on ISEE:

  • Writing Mechanics
  • Writing Concepts & Skills


Q: What kind of a test is the CTP?

A: CTP is a series of tests with multiple-choice and open-ended questions. The tests are administered to groups of students over the course of several days, either in the spring or the fall.

CTP has 10 levels; a different level is used with each grade from 1 through 11.

Students in the early grades take the test under untimed conditions and mark their answers in the test booklet or on a computer with CTP Online.

Students in the middle and upper grades take CTP under generously timed conditions and mark their answers on a separate answer sheet or computer with CTP Online.

There is also an option for schools to include open-ended reading comprehension and mathematics questions for full, partial, or no credit, available in the paper-pencil version only.


Q: Why do kids take the ERB?

A: The CTP-4 is primarily used as a school achievement test. Schools administer tests such as the CTP-4 to assess the performance of their student body. Students’ test scores may also be used by educators in planning the classroom curriculum and instruction, or creating ability groupings. Some independent schools will also accept CTP-4 scores when making admissions decisions.


Q: Can my student write on the test?

A: No writing on the test booklet.  Students in the early grades take the test under untimed conditions and mark their answers in the test booklet or on a computer with CTP Online.  Students in grades 2-11 are provided with scratch paper, but are not allowed to write in the test booklet.  


Q: Can I order sample tests?

A: No, the CTP is a secure test and may not be released to the public. Since similar forms of the test are used by schools each year, the security and confidentiality of the test must be maintained.


Q: Why is it necessary to have two reasoning tests in addition to the achievement tests?

In general, achievement tests—such as vocabulary, reading comprehension, and mathematics—measure mastery of skills and knowledge acquired directly from instruction in the classroom.

Questions in the reasoning tests are intended to describe the student’s facility with subtle, abstract relationships expressed in words or numbers. These tests yield measures of a student’s ability to recognize logical relationships in unfamiliar contexts.

Having both achievement and reasoning tests in the same battery enables the school to compare the results as a guide in working with individual students. Taken together, these scores may help determine if a student is working up to potential, explain classroom performance, and inform appropriate responses .


Q: What does the test schedule look like?

A: With eight subtests, schools will typically test Monday through Thursday morning. The subtests run from 20 to 45 minutes in length. Testing begins promptly in the morning. When the test is complete for the day, most schools have an early dismissal.


Q: Are accommodations for non-standard testing available?

A: Nonstandard administration/special accommodations are granted to students with an Individualized Education Plan or who otherwise have a documented disability that necessitates reasonable testing accommodations.


Q: What are Lexile and Quantile measures?

A: You may see reported Lexile and Quantile measures on your child’s report. A Lexile represents your child’s reading ability and can be used to match him or her with books and other materials at an appropriate difficulty level. Visit A Quantile measure describes your child’s mathematical ability and can be used to determine his or her readiness to learn new mathematical skills and concepts. Visit


This information and more can be found at

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