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Home » Student Success » Testing » State Testing » Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science » Science Assessment Professional Development

Science Assessment Professional Development


This page includes a schedule of upcoming science assessment development work groups and information on how to apply, as well as other professional learning opportunities.

WCAS Work Groups

Item clusters and standalone items for the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) go through an iterative review process that involves four types of educator work groups: Item Cluster Writing, Content Review, Rangefinding, and Content Review with Data. During each work group, educators learn about the process of three-dimensional item development, provide content and grade-level expertise to develop and refine test items and rubrics, and analyze the alignment of items to the state science standards.

Work Group Participation

Invitations to apply for work groups are emailed to those signed up for science assessment updates through our science assessment listserv.

We recommend downloading the Science Assessment Application Example prior to applying.

Science Assessment Work Groups

Item Cluster Writing

  • Grades 5, 8, and 11: To Be Determined

Content Review

  • Grades 5, 8, and 11: To Be Determined

Field Test Rangefinding

  • Grade 5: July 17, 2023
  • Grade 8: July 18–19, 2023
  • Grade 11: July 20–21, 2023

Content Review with Data

  • Grade 5: September 25, 2023
  • Grade 8: September 26, 2023
  • Grade 11: September 27–28, 2023

WCAS Clusters Nuts & Bolts Moodle Course

*OSPI is transitioning all training courses to Canvas. Course participants will need to complete any activity prior to August 2023.

An online Moodle course is available to learn how item clusters are developed for the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS). During the interactive course, participants will:

  • learn how the performance expectations (PEs) from the state science standards are bundled for WCAS item clusters;
  • learn how phenomena are used to develop an item cluster;
  • learn how stimuli and items are written to form an item cluster;
  • learn how items and item clusters align to the three-dimensional WCAS Item Specifications
    and the three-dimensional WA State 2013 K12 Science Standards (the Next Generation Science Standards), and;
  • explore the WCAS online training tests.

The course should take no more than 6 hours and can be completed in more than one sitting.

Six free STEM clock hours are available upon completion of the course and evaluation.
Guidance for obtaining clock hours is embedded in the course.

Keep track of lessons and activities with a lessons and activities checklist.

To access the course:

Professional Learning Module: Interpreting WCAS Item Specifications for Classroom Assessment

(Added March 2021)

This professional learning module was developed to support educators in using the WCAS Item Specifications to develop classroom assessment tasks aligned to the Washington State 2013 K–12 Science Learning Standards.

The module is intended to be delivered locally to a group of participants by a facilitator (e.g., PLC Lead, District Science Coach). 

Participants engage in activities and discussions to build capacity for interpreting the item specifications to develop a multi-dimensional assessment item that is aligned to classroom instruction. In addition, participants discuss and reflect on how science is taught in their classrooms and on the needs, knowledge, and experiences of their students.  

The time to deliver the module is approximately five hours. Facilitators may choose to deliver the module in multiple sessions. 

Facilitator Materials:

Supporting Materials: