Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about Assessment?


Answers from Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

Q:How does Washington assess its students?
A: Our state assessment system fulfills the state’s Education Reform Law of 1993 and the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. We have two tests: the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) for grades 3-8, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The tests are shorter than the former HSPE/WASL tests, and online versions will be phased in over the next few years. More information about state testing is available on our State Testing FAQs page.

Q: What are the graduation requirements?
A: All public high school students are required to meet statewide graduation requirements in order to earn a diploma. The Washington State Legislature requires state testing and the Washington State Board of Education establishes minimum credit requirements, and the High School and Beyond Plan. OSPI explains the graduation requirements in The Graduation Toolkit. The toolkit is an online resource to help educators and families understand state graduation requirements.

Q: How do I see my child’s test booklet?
A: The option to review a student's state test booklet is available to parents and guardians of students who were enrolled full time or part time in Washington public schools during state testing.

Q: What is No Child Left Behind?
A: The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 authorizes several federal education programs that are administered by the states. The law is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. NCLB significantly raises expectations for states, local school districts, and schools in that all students will meet or exceed state standards in reading and mathematics by 2014.

Q: What does it take for a student to do well on a state test?
A: Students do well on state tests when they come to class regularly and do their schoolwork. It’s also important for educators to use a curriculum that emphasizes the state academic standards and regularly ask students to think, communicate and solve problems. "Drill-and-kill exercises" and fill-in-the-blank "test prep" a few weeks before taking the test aren’t effective.

More Questions?