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 and is given in grades 3-8 and grade 10. The Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science and 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 each to meet state and federal requirements. Passing state tests is just one part of earning a diploma. After their first springtime test event, ReadyWAstudents who need or want to try for a higher score may try again each autumn or spring until age 21. It is important to note that after a student completes their required on grade-level assessment, alternate avenues to meet state graduation requirements open up to the student.

  • 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.

Want more? READYWA provides information about state learning standards and how state assessments measure students' understanding of those standards. Check it out! Opt In For Student Success!

Graduating Class of 2018 or earlier: Students graduating in 2018 or earlier may use End-of-Course Math Exam scores to meet graduation standard. The End-of-Course math exam is retired by OSPI after the Spring 2018 administration.

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 sit for a state assessment or to review your transcript. Let us give you a hand. There are new options for students not graduating after four years.


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.

Meeting State Assessment Requirements for Graduation - The OSPI Graduation Toolkit offers a good outline of the various ways to meet state graduation requirements. Passing state assessments are a component of all that goes into meeting graduation requirements. Please visit OSPI for the most current version of the Graduation Toolkit and to view the many publications offered to help meet graduation requirements.

Some students in the Classes of 2014 through 2018 are eligible to have their assessment graduation requirements waived in ELA, math, or both. Detailed information on eligibility and approval requirements are located on OSPI's Expedited Assessment Appeals Waiver webpage. Please contact your school's counseling office to take next steps.

State Test Questions and Practice/Sample Tests provided by OSPI

Tests Required for Graduation

Class of Subject Test
2018 ELA Choose 1:
Math Choose 1:
2019 & 2020 ELA Choose 1:
Math Choose 1:
2021 ELA Choose 1:
Math Choose 1:
Science Choose 1:

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

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.

Please contact Karen Allen with comments. This page last updated on February 14, 2018.