Frequently Asked Questions
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Washington Access to Instruction & Measurement (WA-AIM)

Frequently Asked Questions

What score does my student need on the WA-AIM to meet the CIA requirement?
Students must attain the minimum Graduation Cut-Scores for the following contents in order to fulfill the CIA graduation requirement:

    ELA: 104
    Math: 103
    Science: 104

What Graduation Alternatives are available for students who are eligible for alternate assessments as designated in their IEPs?

  • Off-Grade Level WA-AIM: Student takes the grade 3 or 6 ELA/Math WA-AIM and/or the grade 5 or 8 Science WA-AIM. Meeting standard is scoring at or above the established Level 3 cut-score for that grade/content.
  • Locally Determined Assessment: Student takes on of the approved LDA assessments. Meeting standard is scoring at or above the established minimum grade equivalency (G.E.) for the prescribed test or the established passing score.

What is the WA-AIM Off-Grade Level Assessment?
Students eligible to take the WA-AIM may use an Off-Grade Level Assessment in order to meet their CIA requirement. Students may pursue this option in grades 10-12. Off-Grade Level Assessments do not remove a student from the required on-level grade 11 WA-AIM used for accountability. Students may pursue this option during the fall WA-AIM retake window (mid-September through mid-November) or during the spring regular administration window (mid-October through early April.)

Can my Baseline assessment be the same as my final assessment?
Yes. You must use the same performance task and the items can, but don’t have to, be the same. The baseline is used as a “placement” to make sure the student is being assessed at the correct level. Therefore, the final performance task needs to be at the same Access Point as the baseline.

Do I have to use grade level text with the WA-AIM assessment?
The WA-AIM alternate assessment does not mandate the exact text used. The WA- AIM does stipulate the text type to be used in certain Performance Tasks. If a certain text type is required it will be listed in the Requirements section of the Performance Task. Text presented to the student should be grade level appropriate, meaning it covers the same types of topics used with grade level peers. The text does not need to be at grade level readability. Educators should adapt text using pictures, visuals, object or simpler sentence structure to provide access for the individual student.

The least complex access point is still too difficult for my student. What do I do?
If the student does not meet the Engagement Rubric criteria, Performance Tasks at the lowest complexity must be administered for the student to count as a participant for individual, school, district and state achievement reporting.

The most complex access point is too easy for my student. What do I do?
For accountability testing students must test using on-grade level assessments. Students performing at the More Complex demonstrate greater mastery of the grade level content, teachers may adapt the tasks to make them more challenging, as long as the requirements outlined in each Performance Task are met.

How do I know if my student passed the WA-AIM? What is the criteria for proficiency?
Cut scores for each level can be found at:

How do I Opt Out a student from the WA-AIM?
There is no “opt out” for a federal accountability assessment. The intent of the state and district policy is that ALL students participate in state-mandated assessments. To help educators interpret the Washington state legislation outlined in RCW 28A.655.070 that mandates the administration of the Washington state assessments

The Washington Educational Research Association (WERA) has available a white paper pertaining to procedures for managing parent refusals. This is a wonderful resource and is available at the following page WERA Publications (Refusal Guidelines). For further information please refer to:

What is the difference between item types: performance selected response, and constructed response?
Performance = the student performs an action. Examples- measuring the length, reading a word, counting objects

Selected response= the student chooses from a list of answer choices. Also known as multiple choice.

Constructed response= the student generates something. Example- writing a sentence.

Does the teacher pick the standards/Access Points to assess the student on?
The WA-AIM is structured so that at each grade, students are assessed on the same five standards in ELA and math, and the same five performance expectations in science Educators will pick the most appropriate Access Point complexity for the student and use that Performance Task, but the standards/performance expectations are predetermined.

Will a student's score be compromised if there is not exactly six weeks between the baseline and final?
NO. The WA-AIM is designed for there to be six or more weeks between using the baseline to determine the appropriate A.P. level for the performance task and the administration of the final performance task. However, the days between the tasks will not be counted during the scoring process. If a student is shy of the six weeks it will not impact her/his score.

When using the Engagement Rubric to assess a student, do we need to assess the five standards in math, ELA and Science?
Students participating in the WA-AIM via the Engagement Rubric must be presented with one academic activity at baseline and one activity for final for each content area. The activity should be presented to the student alongside his or her peers. The student’s level of engagement with each content’s academic activity should be documented on separate Engagement Rubrics.

The academic activity does not need to be aligned to any standard, just the content area.

Guidance for use of the Engagement Rubric can be found in the WA-AIM Test Administration Manual Appendix B.

Medically Fragile Students: I have a student who is out most of the school year due to medical reasons that do not allow us time to instruct and gather assessment data on the student’s progress. What do we do?
In compliance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act guidelines, the U.S. Department of Education adopted a policy that allows students who are unable to participate in state assessments due to a significant medical emergency to be exempted from state testing. It is important to note that a student’s disability cannot be used as the justification for a medical exemption (this is not an option for chronic medical conditions).

Medical Emergency Exemption forms should be completed by the District Coordinator prior to testing, unless the medical emergency occurs within the testing window.

How is growth measured on the WA-AIM?
Currently growth is not a measure on the WA-AIM. A student's final score is based on what is submitted for the final assessment.


   Updated 1/22/2019

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