Announcement: Many educator assessments now available online
The Washington Professional Educator Standards Board is pleased to announce the availability of online proctoring for many content knowledge and basic skills tests. Online proctoring allows candidates to take a test securely from their home, school, or business. With a simple check-in process, a candidate can test without having to travel to a test center. Tests will become available for online proctoring through a phased rollout. Registration for online testing opens on December 1. Find out more about which tests will be available online.
The purpose of the content knowledge assessment is to ensure teacher candidates have strong content knowledge in the endorsement area they intend to teach.
What is the content knowledge test?
Depending on the endorsement area, a candidate will either take the Washington Educator Skills Test –Endorsement (WEST-E) or the National Evaluation Series (NES). To determine which test you will need to take, please look at the WEST website, or view the endorsement competencies chart. There are also additional requirements for specific endorsements or educator roles.
- Bilingual education or designated world language endorsements: Candidates earning a bilingual education or designated world language endorsement are required to take both the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test and WEST-E designated world language test.
- American sign language (ASL) world language endorsement: Candidates have additional assessment requirements.
- School psychologists and school counselors: School psychologists and school counselors must complete a comprehensive exam of the knowledge included in the course work for the required master’s degree, or the Praxis II specialty area test. School counselor candidates must pass a Praxis II specialty area test.
Case-by-case exceptions process
At the November 2020 meeting, the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) approved a case-by-case exception process for educators who do not pass the content knowledge assessment; a policy that will become effective in late December 2020. View the meeting materials.
While demonstrating content knowledge is an important step in the preparation of educators, the assessment has raised serious concerns about the disproportionate testing outcomes experienced between candidates of color and white candidates. Recognizing that diverse teachers play a crucial role in providing an equitable education system, this new exception process provides flexibility to better support candidates as they work to meet assessment requirements. This exception process will help reduce barriers, allow for more equitable pathways into the teaching profession, and provides a community-based review process with a diversity, equity and inclusion framework. Teacher candidates interested in being considered for a case-by-case exception should contact their preparation programs directly.
Overview of the process
- Candidates must take the content knowledge assessment once in order to be eligible
- Candidates adding an endorsement on a test-only basis are not eligible for a case-by-case exception
- Candidates must meet all other requirements in order to be recommended for certification
- Preparation programs must follow requirements relating to review committees and evidence to be reviewed
Diversity, equity, and inclusion review framework
Candidates bring diverse assets to the classroom and the case-by-case exception process allows these diverse assets to be recognized. PESB has released guidance for programs which includes prompts to frame review committee members’ thinking as they consider and determine whether or not the candidate is eligible for a case-by-case exception using alternative evidence.
Are vouchers available?
Each program is allocated a certain number of vouchers for the WEST-E and NES tests. Programs may purchase vouchers to provide candidates with full or partial credit toward test registration fees and preparation resources. Purchase vouchers.
Information for out-of-state candidates
If you are prepared or certified from out-of-state, and applying for a Washington State residency or professional teaching certificate, you have one calendar year from issuance of the temporary permit to pass the WEST-E/NES subject knowledge test, provided you are eligible for a temporary permit.
Candidates who hold an out-of-state certificate may seek an exemption from the WEST-E requirement under certain circumstances (WAC).
Learn more about ACTFL
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test assesses proficiency of understanding and communicating in a target language. The WEST-E designated world language test assesses proficiency of how to teach a target language. Candidates earning a bilingual education or designated world language endorsement are required to take both the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test and the corresponding content knowledge test (the WEST-E bilingual education test for Bilingual Education candidates and the WEST-E designated world language test for World Language candidates).
Candidates must pass the following assessments:
- WEST-E in bilingual education, and
- ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT*) at the advanced-did level in a world language area, and
- ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI**) at the advanced-mid level in a world language area.
Designated world language
Candidates must pass the following assessments:
- WEST-E test in the designated world language, and
- ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT*) at the advanced-low level in a world language area, and
- ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI**) at the advanced-low level in a world language area.
Designated world language: Latin
ACTFL does not administer tests for Latin. For Latin, a candidate must take the WEST-E: designated world language (DWL) and the WEST-E: Latin.
For more information about world language endorsements
Learn more about Praxis II
School counselors must successfully complete a comprehensive examination of the knowledge included in the course work for the required master’s degree in counseling or the Praxis II specialty area test (computer-based code #5421) in guidance and counseling, administered by the Educational Testing Service. The passing score for the test (#5421) is 156.
School psychologists must successfully completed a comprehensive examination of the knowledge included in the course work for the required master’s degree in school psychology or the Praxis II specialty area test (code #5402) in school psychology, administered by the Educational Testing Service and used by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The test (#5402) passing score is 147.
Washington accepts the Praxis II only for these areas.