State Testing Overview
Washington students are tested regularly by the state to assess their progress as they move through school. State tests include the following:
- Smarter Balanced Assessments: English language arts (ELA) and math tests
- Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS): Science test for grades 5, 8 and 11
- Washington - Access to Instruction and Measurement (WA-AIM): ELA, math, and science alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive challenges documented in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
State tests may be taken with or without accessibility features. Learn more by reading the Guidelines on Tools, Supports, & Accommodations. If a student's IEP documents the need for an accommodation that is not addressed within the guidelines, the student's IEP team may have their school district personnel submit a Non-Standard Accommodation Request form.
Tests Required for Federal Accountability
In grades 3-8, students take tests in ELA, math, and science for federal accountability. Students take the WA-AIM only if it's documented in their IEP.
|3-8||ELA and Math||Smarter Balanced or WA-AIM|
|5 & 8||Science||WCAS or WA-AIM|
In high school, students take tests in ELA, math, and science for federal accountability. Students take the WA-AIM only if it's documented in their IEP.
|10||ELA and Math||Smarter Balanced or WA-AIM|
|11||Science||WCAS or WA-AIM|
The state legislature passes laws that determine graduation requirements. One of the pathways students can use to demonstrate post-secondary career or college readiness is passing the state assessments, or state-approved alternatives. A student's expected year of graduation is four years after the student enters the 9th grade. (For example, if entering 9th grade in the 2018-19 school year, the student is in the Class of 2022.)
Assessment Pathway for the Class of 2020 or Later
** "Exit exam" scores (for graduation pathways) are separate from what are known as the "college- and career-ready" scores.
- OSPI-Developed Assessments (formerly CBAs) and OSPI-Developed Performance Assessments (formerly CBPAs): The state develops classroom-based assessments for the Arts, Educational Technology, Health and Physical Education, and Social Studies based on the state's learning standards to help guide day-to-day instruction. State curriculum specialists create tasks and questions that model good assessments and provide them to local school districts.
- National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): NAEP is a national assessment that allows educational achievement to be compared across states. Federal law requires every state to give the NAEP in reading and math at grades 4 and 8 every two years. States and school districts that receive Title I federal funding to aid educationally disadvantaged students in high poverty areas must participate in these assessments. Other subjects also are tested.
- English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) Screener: The ELPA21 screener assesses the reading, writing, listening, and speaking knowledge and skills of students whose families answer "yes" to questions #2 or #3 on the Home Language Survey. The ELPA21 screener is used to determine student eligibility for English language development (ELD) services.
- English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21): The ELPA21 is an online annual summative assessment of English language proficiency. Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening skills are assessed and scores are used to determine continued eligibility for English language development (ELD) services in school. Only students whose families answered "yes" to questions #2 or #3 on the Home Language Survey and placed into ELD services through a placement exam take this assessment.
- Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Skills (WaKIDS): This program helps bring families, teachers, and early learning providers together to support each child's learning and transition into public schools.
The state testing timeline shows the history of how Washington phased in state testing.