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Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science

The 5th, 8th, and 11th grade Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) will be administered for the first time in spring 2018. These tests fulfill the federal (ESSA) requirement that students be tested in science once at each level: elementary, middle, and high school. 

The WCAS measures the level of proficiency that Washington students have achieved based on the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards, which were adopted in October 2013.

Standards Assessed
Grade 5Grade 8Grade 11
3-5 band of NGSSMiddle school band of NGSSHigh school band of NGSS

  • Test Design and Item Specifications
    The Test Design and Item Specifications documents describe how the clusters (stimulus and item sets) and standalone items for the WCAS are developed. They include a technical description of the assessment that assures the assessment will validly measure the science standards in a reliable manner every year.

    The documents include a small sample of specifications for each grade. The sample will continue to expand through the 2017–18 and 2018–19 school years until full Performance Expectation coverage is achieved.

    Grade 5 Test Design and Item Specifications (December 2017)
    Grade 8 Test Design and Item Specifications (December 2017)
    High School Test Design and Item Specifications (December 2017)

  • Online WCAS Training Tests
    The Training Tests for the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) for grades 5, 8, and high school are now available on the WCAP Portal. To experience the greatest variety of question types and test functionalities, students in 5th, 8th, and 11th grade should interact with the training tests at all three grade levels.

    This Online Training Test Support document includes information about accessing the training tests, descriptions of ways to practice using the tools for each item type, and an answer key and other information for each question.

    January 10 webinar presentation slides (final draft) about how to work with the WCAS Training Test, and answers to questions asked during the webinar. NEW

  • High School Testing Requirements
    With the signing into law of House Bill 2224 the high school science assessment graduation requirement is postponed until the Class of 2021. This means that students in the Classes of 2017 through 2020 do not need to pass a science exam in order to graduate. The table below details the federal accountability (ESSA) and assessment graduation requirements (HB 2224) for the classes of 2018-2021.

Grade in

Class of...

Science Assessment
Spring 2018

Science Assessment
Spring 2019 and beyond







WCAS for federal accountability





WCAS for federal accountability in 11th grade (2019)




WCAS for graduation and federal accountability in 11th grade (2020)

  • 2017 Presentations
    WERA Science Assessment Updates
    WSTA Science Assessment Updates
    Information about the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) was shared, including: science assessment development opportunities, test design and features, item specifications, training tests, and resources available on the science assessment webpage.

  • Professional Development Opportunities
    Science educators throughout Washington are encouraged to sign up for science assessment updates as well as apply to participate in assessment development events.

  • Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) Frequently Asked Questions
    This document provides answers to a list of frequently asked questions about the current and future state science assessments.

  • NGSS Description and Timeline
    Describes the transition and implementation of the standards and assessments.

  • Lessons Learned from Scoring Student Work
    The Science Assessment Team shares observations about student responses for the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science field test. Coming Soon

  • Past Assessments Measurements of Student Progress (MSP), Biology End-of-Course (EOC)
    Please contact the science assessment team to request resource materials related assessment written to the 2009 Washington K-12 Science Learning Standards.

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   Updated 1/18/2018

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