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State Testing, a Key Measure of Student Progress, Now Underway
Resources on standards, testing and preparing for college available

OLYMPIA — March 24, 2016 — Knowing which students are ready for career, college and life, and how well our schools are preparing all students, is an important part of our state’s accountability system. State testing, which is now underway, provides a key measure to help education leaders, teachers and parents improve student learning.

In spring 2015, students in the state’s 295 school districts took the computer-based Smarter Balanced Assessments in math and English language arts (ELA) for the first time, outperforming initial projections against tougher college and career ready learning standards.

Testing also gives us another piece of information – just like discipline and attendance rates – to determine the health of our public school system.

In grades 3-8, Washington students performed at or near the top in most grade levels and subjects compared to other Smarter Balanced states.

More than 50 percent of 11th graders refused to take Smarter Balanced tests in spring 2015. But 74 percent of 10th graders who took the Smarter Balanced ELA test passed at a college- and career-ready level – and 82 percent met the graduation requirement threshold. In eight states, including Washington, the high school Smarter Balanced tests serve as college placement exams and can help students avoid remedial courses in college if they score a Level 3 or 4.

“State testing helps districts determine if they are meeting the needs of all their students equitably and fairly, or if they should make adjustments,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “It helps families know how their child is doing in school and whether he or she needs more help or more academic challenges.

“Testing also gives us another piece of information – just like discipline and attendance rates – to determine the health of our public school system.”

Ready Washington released three new videos today that provide the basics on 2016 state testing, WA’s learning standards and the State Board of Education’s 95/10 Challenge. The videos are available at

More Information:


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Kristen Jaudon
Communications Specialist
(360) 725-6032 |

Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 |

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 3/24/2016

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