Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science
The 5th, 8th, and 11th grade Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) was administered for the first time in spring 2018. These tests fulfill the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (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 are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards were adopted in October 2013.
- Grade 5—3-5 band
- Grade 8—Middle school band
- Grade 11— High school band
High School Science Testing Requirements
Eleventh graders are required to take the state science test (WCAS) to meet state and federal accountability requirements. These requirements are summarized in the table below for the classes of 2019-2022.
Spring 2021 and Beyond
|11||2021||WCAS for state and federal accountability||NA|
|10||2022||NA||WCAS for state and federal accountability in 11th grade|
|9||2023||NA||WCAS for state and federal accountability in 11th grade|
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 measure the science standards in a reliable manner every year.
The documents currently include a small sample of specifications for each grade. The sample will continue to expand through the 2018–19 school year until full Performance Expectation coverage is achieved.
Grade 5 Test Design and Item Specifications (December 2018)
Grade 8 Test Design and Item Specifications (December 2018)
High School Test Design and Item Specifications (December 2018)
Modifications Log (December 2018)
Science Test Design & Item Specifications Release Webinar
January 24 webinar presentation slides (final draft), answers to questions asked during the webinar, and the recording of the webinar.
Training Tests for the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) for grades 5, 8, and high school are 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, an answer key, and other information for each question. -
How to Work with the WCAS Training Tests Webinar
January 10 webinar presentation slides (final draft), answers to questions asked during the webinar, and the recording of the webinar.
The scores from the spring 2018 WCAS are available:
- Statewide test scores publically released on Report Card
- For educators: Scores available in the Online Reporting System (ORS) on the WCAP Portal
- For families: Paper WCAS Individual Score Reports (ISRs) arrived in districts in early October.
Lessons Learned from Scoring Student Work
The Science Assessment Team shares observations about student responses for the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) field test items.
The ALDs describe the knowledge, skills, and processes that students demonstrate on state tests at pre-determined levels of achievement for each tested grade level.
Science educators throughout Washington are encouraged to sign up for science assessment updates as well as apply to participate in assessment development events.
This document provides answers to a list of frequently asked questions about the current and future state science assessments.
Students in grades 5, 8, and high school took the operational Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) for the first time in spring 2018. At this session, OSPI staff shared information and gathered session attendee questions and feedback on anything related to the WCAS and its first administration to continue support for educators.