Testing Students in Washington State
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State Testing

Overview
Updated August 25, 2015
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Washington students are tested regularly by the state to assess their progress as they move through school. State tests include the following, and may be taken with or without tools, supports, or accommodations*:

* Tools are available to all students and can be used at the student's discretion. Supports are available to English language learners and any student with a need identified by an educator. Accommodations are for students who receive special education services with a documented need noted in an IEP or 504 plan.

Learn more by reading 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.

Grades 3-8

In grades 3-8, students take tests in ELA, math, and science for federal accountability. Student scores on these tests determine a school’s adequate yearly progress (AYP) status.

Tests Required for Federal Accountability
Grades Subject Test
3-8 ELA Smarter Balanced or WA-AIM
Math
5 & 8 Science MSP or WA-AIM

High School

In high school, students take tests in ELA, math, and science for federal accountability. Student scores on these tests determine a school’s adequate yearly progress (AYP) status.

State tests may be taken with or without tools, supports, or accommodations. Students take the WA-AIM only if it's documented in their IEP.

Tests Required for Federal Accountability
Grades Subject Test
11 ELA Smarter Balanced or WA-AIM
Math
Science WA-AIM
10 Science Biology EOC

The state legislature passes laws that determine graduation requirements. One of the requirements is that students pass tests, or state-approved alternatives. Required tests vary by expected year of graduation. A student's expected year of graduation is four years after he or she enters the 9th grade. (For example, if a student enters 9th grade in the 2015-16 school year, he or she is in the Class of 2019.)

State tests may be taken with or without tools, supports, or accommodations. Students take the WA-AIM only if it's documented in their IEP.

Tests Required for Graduation
Class of Subject Test
2015 ELA Choose 1:
  • Reading AND Writing HSPE*
  • ELA Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) Portfolio
Math Choose 1:
  • Algebra 1/Integrated Math 1 EOC exam
  • Geometry/Integrated Math 2 EOC exam
  • Math Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) Portfolio
2016 ELA Choose 1:
Math Choose 1:
2017 & 2018 ELA Choose 1:
Math Choose 1:
Science Choose 1:
2019 ELA Choose 1:
Math Choose 1:
Science Choose 1:

* Reading and Writing HSPEs are available to 12th graders who have not met their graduation requirements in fall 2015 and spring 2016.

** "Exit exam" scores (for graduation requirements) are separate from what are known as the "college- and career-ready" scores.

ATTENTION CLASSES OF 2016 THROUGH 2018: If a student meets or exceeds the college- and career-ready threshold score on the Smarter Balanced ELA test as a 10th grader, he or she will not have to take that test in 11th grade.

Other Assessments

  • OSPI-Developed Assessments (formerly CBAs) and OSPI-Developed Performance Assessments (formerly CBPAs): The state develops classroom-based assessments 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.
  • Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA): WELPA placement test 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 WELPA placement test is used to determine student eligibility for English language development (ELD) services.
  • English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21): ELPA21 is a new assessment that measures 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. When fully implemented, it will consist of a "screener" test to identify students who qualify for English language development (ELD) services, as well as a "summative" test administered yearly to students who receive ELD services. In the 2015-16 school year, the ELPA21 summative test will be used to measure the language skills of students already receiving services, but the state will continue to use the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA) as the screener test to determine student eligibility for ELD services. The ELPA21 screener test will be available starting in summer 2016.
  • 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.

 

 

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