All educators in Washington must meet a variety of assessment requirements throughout their journey to becoming certified. These requirements are mandated by the Legislature, and PESB sets policy establishing the requirements to gain and maintain educator certification which permits teachers, administrators, and educational staff associates to work in Washington schools.
To earn a residency teacher certificate in Washington, candidates are required to take assessments for basic skills, and content knowledge. In addition, teacher candidates who are enrolled in PESB-approved teacher preparation programs are required to pass a performance assessment.
Each program is allocated a certain number of vouchers for WEST-B, WEST-E/NES, and edTPA test takers. Programs may purchase additional WEST-B / WEST-E / NES vouchers and edTPA vouchers to provide candidates with full or partial credit toward fees for test registration and preparation resources.
Basic skills test
The basic skills assessment ensures that teacher candidates have basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics prior to 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, or a number of other equivalent assessments. In 2019, the Legislature removed the requirement of meeting a specific score on the basic skills assessment. Preparation programs use the results as a formative assessment of academic strengths and weakness to determine the candidates’ readiness for the program.
Content knowledge test
Content knowledge tests are a certification requirement, and ensure teacher candidates have strong content knowledge in the endorsement area they intend to teach.
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 are required to pass the ACTFL assessment to demonstrate that they meet the adequate level of language proficiency. Candidates pursuing an ASL world language endorsement have additional assessment requirements. School psychologists and school counselors take the Praxis II ESA.
Performance assessment (edTPA)
The edTPA is a portfolio-based performance assessment required to complete a teacher preparation program.
Candidates have eighteen months to complete the edTPA by demonstrating educator performance through lesson plans, a video, reflection, and an analysis of student work. 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 assessment resources page provides resources for programs and candidates on test materials for the WEST-B, WEST-E, NES, and edTPA.