All Washington educators must meet a variety of assessment requirements throughout their journey to becoming certified. The Legislature mandates these requirements and PESB sets policy to establish them, permitting educators to work in Washington schools.
To earn a residency teacher certificate, candidates must take a basic skills assessment and a content knowledge assessment.
Each program is allocated a certain number of test vouchers for candidates covering full or partial fees for registration and preparation resources for the WEST-B, WEST-E, NES, and edTPA. Programs have the option to purchase additional vouchers.
Basic skills test
The basic skills test ensures that teacher candidates have basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills before entering a preparation program. Candidates have many options to meet the basic skills requirement, including the Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic (WEST-B), SAT, ACT, and several other equivalent assessments.
In 2019, the Legislature removed the requirement for candidates to meet a minimum passing score. Preparation programs use the test results as a formative assessment of academic strengths and weaknesses to determine a candidate’s readiness for the program.
Learn more about the basic skills assessment.
Content knowledge test
Content knowledge tests ensure teacher candidates have strong content knowledge in the endorsement area they intend to teach. Content knowledge tests are a certification requirement.
Depending on the endorsement area, a candidate will either take the Washington Educator Skills Test – Endorsement (WEST-E) or the National Evaluation Series (NES). Teacher candidates pursuing World Language or Bilingual education endorsements must meet ACTFL assessment requirements to demonstrate that they meet the adequate level of language proficiency. Candidates seeking an ASL world language endorsement have additional assessment requirements. School psychologists and school counselors take the Praxis II ESA or an approved alternative.
Candidates who do not pass the required WEST-E or NES content knowledge assessment may be eligible for a case-by-case exception. The case-by-case exception process allows PESB-approved endorsement programs to examine alternative evidence to determine if a candidate has the required knowledge and skills.
Learn more about the content knowledge assessment.
Performance assessment (edTPA)
n April, 2021, the Washington State Legislature approved state law, 2SHB 1028, eliminating the edTPA as a state requirement for teacher certification. Learn more about this policy change.
PESB-approved teacher preparation programs can recommend candidates who have met all program completion requirements, with the exception of the edTPA, for a residency teacher certificate.
Programs may choose to continue using the edTPA as a formative tool as long as they include this information in all program descriptions.
The edTPA is designed to assess how teacher candidates plan and teach lessons, exhibit culturally responsive instruction, and demonstrate approaches to differentiate student needs. The edTPA provides an opportunity for prospective teachers to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to help all students learn in real classrooms.
Learn more about the edTPA performance assessment.
The assessment resources page provides resources for programs and candidates on test materials for the WEST-B, WEST-E, NES, and edTPA.