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 Washington Educator Skills Test Basic (WEST-B)
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 2011 marked the end of the ninth 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 ten locations throughout the state.
- During the ninth year of administration a total of 4,587 prospective teachers were tested. Of the 4,587 total WEST-B examinees in 2010-11:
- 36 identified themselves as American Indian/Alaskan Native
- 196 identified themselves as Asian/ Pacific Islander
- 75 identified themselves as Black/African American
- 231 identified themselves as Hispanic
- 173 identified themselves as multi-racial
- 3462 identified themselves as White
- 396 provided no response as to their ethnicity
Note: Designations for gender and ethnicity are based on examinees 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 4,587 examinees who attempted at least 1 subtest in ’10 -’11, 74% passed all three on their first attempt.
- The initial passing rates for the individual subtests were;
- 95% of 4,423 examinees passing the reading subtest
- 95% of 4,330 examinees passing the mathematics subtest
- 89% of 4,203 examinees passing the writing subtest
Since examinees can retake WEST-B subtests, the cumulative passing rates are higher with 87% of the 4,587 examinees during the 2010-2011 test year eventually passing all three subtests, 96% of 4,539 examinees eventually passing the reading subtest, 97% of 4,509 eventually passing the mathematics subtest, and 93% of 4,453 eventually passing the writing subtest.
- These cumulative pass rates results were also calculated for ethnic subgroups of examinees.
- Of the 36 American Indian/Alaskan Natives, 67% met the requirement.
- Of the 196 Asian/Pacific Islander, 71% met the requirement.
- Of the 75 Black/African Americans, 55% met the requirement.
- Of the 231 Hispanic, 69% met the requirement.
- Of the 173 multi-racial, 85% met the requirement.
- Of the 3462 White, 90% met the requirement.
- Of the 92 no response about their ethnicity, 92% met the requirement.
- 4,587 examinees attempted at least one subtest across all administrations during the previous 2010-11 test year.
- 1,161 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 4,587examinees tested in 2010--11, 3,393 (74%) passed all three subtests.
- Of the 49,069 examinees who took the reading subtest between August 2002 and July 2011, 94% passed on the initial attempt, and 98% passed by the third attempt.
- Of the 48,897 examinees who took the mathematics subtest between August 2002 and July 2011, 93% passed on the initial attempt, and 98% passed by the fourth attempt.
- Of the 48,811 examinees who took the writing subtest between August 2002 and July 2011, 86% passed on the initial attempt, and 96% passed by the fourth attempt.
- Of the 4,952 examinees tested in 2010-11, 4,607 (93%) passed all three subtests; 7% (277) did not pass all three subtests and made no attempt in 2009-10 to pass additional subtests.
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 has taken place since 2006 with 26 WEST-Es implemented on September 1, 2008 in Phase I. Ten tests were implemented in Phase II on September 1, 2009 with the last WEST-E test implemented in January 2010. The WEST-E tests were administered on seven dates at nine sites across Washington.
- The state-wide number tested by the individual WEST-E tests ranged from 2 to 2,759 examinees. The pass rates range from 56% to 100%. Twenty-seven tests had passing percentages above 80%. Eight tests had passing percentages below 80%.
- Of the 2,759 examinees who took the WEST-E Elementary subtest 1 (Math/Science/Health& Fitness),
- 268 identified themselves as Not yet accepted into teacher prep program and cumulative passing rate 93%
- 1,579 identified themselves as Accepted, not finished student teaching and cumulative passing rate 88%
- 88 identified themselves as Student teaching complete and cumulative passing rate 76%
- 456 identified themselves as Teacher prep complete, not yet certified and cumulative passing rate 87%
- 297 identified themselves as Certified and cumulative passing rate 87%
- 71 identified themselves as No response and cumulative passing rate 76%
- Of the 2,686 examinees who took the WEST-E Elementary subtest 2 (Eng. Lang. Arts/Soc.Stud./Arts), the cumulative passing rate was 89%
- 256 identified themselves as Not yet accepted into teacher prep program and cumulative passing rate 95%
- 1,525identified themselves as Accepted, not finished student teaching and cumulative passing rate 88%
- 89 identified themselves as Student teaching complete and cumulative passing rate 78%
- 459 identified themselves as Teacher prep complete, not yet certified and cumulative passing rate 87%
- 286 identified themselves as Certified and cumulative passing rate 92%
- 71 identified themselves as No response and cumulative passing rate 80%
- WEST-E Middle Level Science percentage passing rate were calculated for the following ethnic subgroups:
- Hispanic 40% in 2011 compared to 33% in 2010
- Black/African American 33% in 2011 compared to 20% in 2010
- White 57% in 2011 compared to 54% in 2010
- WEST-E Middle Level Math percentage passing rate were calculated for the following ethnic subgroups:
- Hispanic 81% in 2011 compared to 66% in 2010
- Black/African American 44% in 2011 compared to 38% in 2010
- White 73% in 2011 compared to 72% in 2010
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.