Washington State Assessments
The Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) refers to the statewide, testing program designed to measure student progress toward meeting the state learning standards. Measuring the progress and proficiency of our students statewide is important because it helps ensure all public schools students, no mater where they go to school, receive a quality education.
Washington students are regularly tested by the state to assess their progress as they move through elementary and middle school. In high school, students are tested on their proficiency on basic skills and must pass specific assessments or assessment alternatives to be eligible to graduate.
EOC = End-of-Course
- Math tests taken as students finish algebra 1/integrated math 1, geometry/integrated math 2, and Biology. (Please note that passing a Biology exam is not required until the class of 2021). 2017-2018 is the last year these tests will be administered.
- Science test for grades 5, 8, and 11
- What is the WCAS?
- English language arts (ELA) and math tests
- ELA, math, and science alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive challenges Grades 3-8
Elementary and Middle School
Thorughout the United States, in grades 3 through 8 students take tests in English langauge arts and math for federal accountability. Student scores on these tests determine a school’s status under the federal Every Child Succeeds Act.
Tests Required for Federal Accountability
Smarter Balanced or WA-AIM
5 & 8
WCAS or WA-AIM
In high school, students take tests in English language arts and math for federal accountability. Student scores on these tests determine a school’s status under the federal Every Child Succeeds Act.
State tests may be taken with or without tools, supports, or accommodations. Students take the WA-AIM only if it's documented in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Tests Required for Federal Accountability
Smarter Balanced or WA-AIM
WCAS (Not currently required for federal accountability. Will be required in at some future date.)
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
- OSPI-Developed Assessments: 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.
- English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21): ELPA21 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. It consists 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.
- Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developmental Skills (WaKIDS): This program helps bring families, teachers, and early learning providers together to support each child's learning and transition into public schools. It is administered to all kindergarten students in the fall of each year.
Certificate of Academic Achievement Options
Most Washington state public high school students will fulfill the assessment portion of the graduation requirements by passing state exit exams. If students don’t pass on their first attempt, there are retake opportunities. Some students, however, may need to demonstrate their skills in a different way. For these students, state-approved alternatives are available, called Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) options.
What are the CAA Options?
A student’s grades in English courses and/or math courses are compared with the grades of students who took the same courses and passed the exit exam. This option is available to students in their 12th-grade year who have an overall grade-point average of 3.2. Students must attempt an exit exam at least once before attempting this CAA option.
Alternative Assessment Scores
Students may use their math, reading and/or writing scores on the SAT reasoning test, ACT or ACT Plus Writing tests, or specified Advanced Placement (AP) tests to show they have key skills expected of high school graduates. Students must attempt an exit exam at least once before attempting this CAA option.
Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS)
The Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) is a component of Washington’s comprehensive assessment program focused on providing access for students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to the state testing system.
WAAS includes the following assessment instruments:
WAAS-Portfolio. Designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities, the Portfolio is a collection of data aligned to specific skills that a student demonstrates in a classroom setting.
Basic. A determination by a student’s IEP team to establish a proficient score at Level 2, or Basic, on the state’s annual assessment. This score determination process is accessible for all students on an IEP in grades 3 through 8 and high school. The MSP/HSPE Basic cannot be used for state and federal accountability; at the high school level the HSPE Basic can be used to meet state graduation requirements.
Off Grade Level Assessment(s). The developmentally appropriate proficiency exams (DAPE) are accessible by 11th and 12th grade students only for purpose of meeting state graduation requirements. Each assessment is constructed to determine student skills at either elementary or middle school level of knowledge; a student may access the DAPE in reading, writing, and/or mathematics. Meeting standard is scoring at or above Level 3 or Proficient.
Locally Determined Assessment (LDA). A series of state-prescribed assessments available in the content areas of reading, writing, and mathematics that can be selected and administered at the local school. The LDA is accessible by 12th grade students only for purpose of meeting state graduation requirements. Meeting standard is scoring at or above the established minimum grade equivalency (G.E.) for the prescribed test.
Awareness Level Waiver. For students with disabilities at extreme low levels of cognitive interaction, IEP teams and associated districts can pursue a waiver from further state testing and the state graduation requirements linked to the state’s assessment program.
More WAAS Information: