In 2000, the Washington State Legislature directed the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to establish the teacher assessment system. The system includes an assessment of basic skills in reading, mathematics and writing plus an assessment of the content knowledge required by each of the endorsements. The timeline established in law stated that passing the basic skills test was to be required of candidates beginning September 1, 2002 and passing the content knowledge tests was to be required of candidates for each endorsement beginning September 1, 2005.
The Professional Educator Standards Board established the Washington Educator Skills Test Basic (WEST-B) as a requirement for admission to approved teacher preparation programs in Washington. The WEST-B is also required of persons from out-of-state seeking a Washington State residency teaching certificate.
The WEST-B measures basic skills in reading, mathematics, and writing through three subtests. Test objectives were developed for each subtest to be consistent with the Washington Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs). The reading and mathematics subtests have 60 multiple choice questions each. On the writing subtest, examinees respond to 50 multiple choice questions and 2 writing prompts.
The WEST-B was administered for the first time in August of 2002. September 2010 marked the end of the eighth year of administration of the WEST-B as a requirement specified in RCW 28A.410.220. During this past year, the WEST-B has been given on seven different dates at nine locations throughout the state.
During the eighth year of administration a total of 4,952 prospective teachers were tested. Of the 4,952 total WEST-B examinees in 2009-10, 1235 were out-of-state applicants to either the master’s-level teacher preparation programs or for the residency certificate, 40 identified themselves as American Indian/Alaskan Native, 221 as Asian/ Pacific Islander, 78 as Black/African American, 264 as Hispanic, 186 as multi-racial; 3,767 identified themselves as White, and 396 provided no response as to their ethnicity. Note: Designations for gender and ethnicity are based on examinee responses to a question on the registration form that is “optional.” Because some examinees did not respond to this question, the sum of examinees in the reporting groups may not equal the number of “Total Examinees.”
Of the 4,952 examinees who attempted at least 1 subtest in ’09-’10, 74% passed all three on their first attempt. The initial passing rates were higher for the individual subtests with 95% of 4,800 examinees passing the reading subtest, 95% of 4,690 examinees passing the mathematics subtest, and 89% of 4,558 examinees passing the writing subtest.
Since examinees can retake WEST-B subtests, the cumulative passing rates are higher with 88% of the 4,952 examinees during the 2009-2010 test year eventually passing all three subtests, 97% of 4,895 examinees eventually passing the reading subtest, 97% of 4,855 eventually passing the mathematics subtest, and 94% of 4,817 eventually passing the writing subtest.
These cumulative pass rates results were also calculated for ethnic subgroups of examinees. Of the 40 American Indian/Alaskan Natives, 85% met the requirement. Of the 221 who identified themselves as Asian/Pacific Islander, 72% met the requirement. Of the 78 Black/African Americans, 64% met the requirement. Of the 264 Hispanic examinees, 69% met the requirement. Of the 186 examinees multi-racial examinees, 84% met the requirement. Of the 3,767 examinees who identified themselves as White, 90% met the WEST-B requirement. Of the 396 examinees who gave no response about their ethnicity, 90% met the requirement.
Note: Extreme caution should be used in interpreting data for small numbers (<100) of examinees. The examinees for whom results are presented in this document may not reflect the same proportion of all the types and capabilities of examinees in the population who will take the tests in the future.
4,858 examinees attempted at least one subtest across all administrations during the previous 2008-09 test year. (1,253 were out-of-state applicants who indicated that they attend or attended a college or university outside Washington State on their registration form in response to a background question regarding the undergraduate college or university attended.) Of the 4,858 examinees tested in 2008-09, 4,539 (93%) passed all three subtests.
Of the 44,468 examinees who took the reading subtest between August 2002 and July 2010, 94% passed on the initial attempt, and 98% passed by the third attempt.
Of the 44,288 examinees who took the mathematics subtest between August 2002 and July 2010, 93% passed on the initial attempt, and 98% passed by the fourth attempt.
Of the 44,181 examinees who took the writing subtest between August 2002 and July 2010, 86% passed on the initial attempt, and 96% passed by the fourth attempt.
Of the 4,858 examinees tested in 2008-09, 4,539 (93%) passed all three subtests; 5% (243) did not pass all three subtests and made no additional attempt in 2009-10.
RCW 28A.410.220 directed the PESB to implement content knowledge tests to be required of candidates applying for endorsements on the residency certificate. The test requirement was implemented on September 1, 2005. Initially, the Praxis II series tests, administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), were selected to fulfill the requirement. In 2006, the PESB directed that content knowledge tests fully aligned to Washington standards were to be developed and implemented. Test development began in 2006 with 26 new WEST-Es implemented on September 1, 2008 in Phase I. Ten tests were implemented in Phase II on September 1, 2009 with the last new WEST-E test implemented in January 2010. The new WEST-E tests were administered on seven dates at nine sites across Washington.
- The state-wide number tested by the individual new WEST-E tests ranged from 1 to 2,981 examinees. The pass rates range from 51% to 100%. Twenty-seven tests had passing percentages 80% or above. Eight tests had passing percentages below 80%.
- The state-wide number tested by the individual Praxis II exams range from 14 to 53 examinees. The pass rates range from 74% to 90% for the individual Praxis II tests. One test was above 80%. The passing percentages for two tests were below 80%.