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State Assessment Information for Families

Assessment Information for Families (download .pdf)

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We believe strong partnerships between our families and schools is vital to preparing all students for college, careers, and life. With state testing in the spring, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with some information about these assessments and how you can help support your child.

WHAT tests will my child take?

Here is a list and brief overview of the assessments your child may take.

SBA (Smarter Balanced): Measures student proficiency and growth in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math in grades 3-8 and high school. You can learn more about the SBA here.

WCAS (Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science): Measures student proficiency and growth in Science at each level (elementary, middle and high school). You can learn more about the WCAS here.

WA-AIM (Washington Access to Instruction and Measurement):  ELA, Math, and Science alternate assessments to the SBA for students with significant cognitive challenges documented in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).  You can learn more about the WA-AIM here.

ELPA21 (English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century): The ELPA21 is an online annual summative assessment for English language learners (ELL). Reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are assessed and scores are used to determine continued eligibility for English language development (ELD) services in school. Only students whose families answered “yes” to questions #2 or #3 on the Home Language Survey and placed into ELD services through a placement exam take this assessment. You can learn more about the ELPA21 Screener and Assessment here.

Assessment Schedule

WHY does my child take state tests?

Students are tested regularly to assess their progress as they move through school. Tests are required by the state for federal accountability and as such, they are useful to your child and their teacher as a measure of growth and achievement towards proficiency in the Washington State Learning Standards.  Proficiency in the standards are a benchmark indicator towards high school graduation as well as post-high school educational opportunities.

HOW can I support my child?

We are committed to supporting your child’s success during testing. You can help at home by:

Support healthy habits

On testing days, it’s especially important to make sure that your child gets a good night’s sleep, starts the day with a filling breakfast, and goes to school with a water bottle to help stay hydrated.

Talk to your child about testing

Open, ongoing conversations with your child to explain the benefits of testing, focusing on how it helps them, their teacher, their school ensure helps them understand the “why” which can help instill a drive to succeed.

Offer positive reinforcement

A little encouragement can go a long way in helping students walk into testing days feeling confident—which, in turn, can have a huge effect on their performance and attitude toward testing.

Prioritize attendance

Of course, allow your child to stay home if necessary, but scheduling vacations and appointments around testing dates enables your child to take assessments with their class instead of on a make-up day.

Keep assessments in perspective

We believe our students are so much more than a test score. Putting too much emphasis on scores will make your child feel pressure that could negatively impact their attitudes toward testing.

WHERE can I get more information?

We are always here to answer questions you have about your child’s education and assessments.  The best place to start is with your child’s teacher. OSPI also has online information and resources for families at http://www.k12.wa.us/resources.