State Assessment

Statewide testing helps ensure all public-school students, no matter where they go to school, receive a quality education. Each spring, Washington students are tested by the state to assess their progress as they move through elementary and middle school. Washington State uses the Smarter Balanced Assessment for English Language Arts (reading and writing) and Math. Smarter Balanced is given in grades 3-8  ReadyWA Plan Path Graphicand 10. The Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science is given in grades 5, 8 and 11. In high school, students are tested on their proficiency of basic skills and content knowledge and must meet standard to be eligible to graduate. Should a high school student not meet  standard in grade 10, alternative avenues to meet standard open up after the first attempt (please see high school information below).

Want more? Please visit the OSPI website for more information. Students may review sample questions and items seen on our state tests. Also, please visit this page for more information about Smarter Balanced tests.  OSPI's Understanding Smarter Balanced Assessment Scores with Audio offers helpful information to support students.

Kindergarten: The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) is a process that helps ensure a successful start to school. WaKIDS provides a statewide snapshot of where children are in their development at the start of kindergarten. This inventory-of-skills assessment helps inform our teachers as to your child's unique skill set at the beginning of the school year and assists state-level decisions about education policy. For more information, please check out our Parent Support page for Preschool.

Grades 3-8: Each spring, students test their understanding of English language arts and mathematics with the Smarter Balanced Assessment. In grades 5 and 8, students also take the state science exam, Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science.

High School: Beginning in March, students complete testing to meet state and federal requirements. Passing state tests is just one part of earning a diploma. After their first springtime test event in grade 10, Future Look Likestudents who need or want to try for a higher score may try again each year until age 21.

  • Students in grade 10 take the Smarter Balanced Assessment for English language arts and math.
  • Students in grade 11 take the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science.

Do students need to take the high school assessment to graduate?

Assessment results are necessary in order to have a complete High School and Beyond Plan, which is a graduation requirement. In addition, the results from the 10th grade ELA and math tests should be used to inform course-taking for the next two years of high school. When a 10th grade student demonstrates they have met standard on the test, they will have greater course-taking flexibility. Meeting standard on the high school test is one of the graduation pathways.

Want more? READYWA provides information about state learning standards and how state assessments measure students' understanding of those standards. 

Former High School Students seeking a Diploma: Until age 21, students are warmly encouraged to contact the Counselling Offices of Wenatchee HS or WestSide HS to schedule time to review your transcript and explore Alternate PathwaysLet us give you a hand.


Planning to Go to College? Parents can use these brochures to find out how to use the Smarter Balance score to qualify for entry-level credit-bearing college courses. Available in the following languages:

English  | Chinese | Khmer | Korean | Punjabi | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Tagalog | Vietnamese


Running Start Students: Plan to take the state assessment - Reserve your Spot! Please reach out to your school with your contact information.

HB-1599 - Please see updates on the OSPI Graduation Alternatives webpage to learn about all the assessment graduation alternatives.

Students and Family Resources may be accessed from the Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program website. WCAP offers Practice and Training Tests for review, as well as general information to support students.

If my child does not meet standard on a state assessment during their grade 10 administration, how may they meet the state graduation requirements for state assessment? OSPI has alternate avenues in place that become available to the student after they take the state assessment in grade 10. 

Last revision April 15, 2019

Learn about state assessment score reports here.

The Washington Access to Instruction & Measurement (WA-AIM) is an alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive challenges. The WA-AIM measures student knowledge and skills through the use of performance tasks. The WA-AIM is administered in the same grade levels and can be used to meet a student’s CIA requirements for graduation.

ELPA21: Is used to determine English language levels and student eligibility for English language services. Students who speak languages other than English take this test to help determine services provided to the student. The Annual Test window is February 1-March 30, 2017.

Parents and students who wish to refuse state testing may contact their principal for further information. 

Washington State Report Card- OSPI's report of our assessment scores and other various strands of data. The Report Card is updated each November.

This page last updated on March 26, 2019. Please contact Karen Allen with comments.