Statewide testing is important because it helps ensure all public school students, no matter where they go to school, receive a quality education.
Washington students are regularly tested by the state to assess their progress as they move through school. In high school, they must pass specific exit exams, or state-approved alternatives, to be eligible to earn a certificate of academic achievement/high school diploma. (Assessment is one of the graduation requirements.)
OSPI develops or selects and administers all state assessments. They also report achievement data for students, schools, districts, and the state. These data help districts and schools decide which teaching practices and curricula best support student understanding of the Washington State Learning Standards. They also give families valuable information about how well their child is doing and where additional help might be needed.
One requirement of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is that states have their assessment programs approved for technical quality by the U.S. Department of Education. Washington's assessment program has received a "Fully Approved" rating through this process.