The Washington Educator Skills Tests (WEST) is in place to assess the skills and knowledge of prospective teachers in the state of Washington (not Washington, D.C.). All persons who wish to obtain a teaching certificate in the state of Washington must pass the Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic (WEST-B) examination. Students must also obtain one or more of the Washington Educator Skills Test-Endorsement (WEST-E) examinations, depending on the subject and/or the grade level the applicant wishes to teach.
The WEST-B measures proficiency in reading, mathematics, and writing. A solid understanding and mastery of all three is essential for success in teaching at any level. The three subtests are outlined below for reference:
1. The reading subtest contains 60 multiple-choice questions that test the applicant’s ability to comprehend written text.
2. The mathematics subtest, also comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions, is designed to analyze a prospective teacher’s ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts and principles.
3. The writing subtest is divided into two parts: the first part is comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions, and the second part is comprised of two writing prompts. The writing subtest is designed to assess a candidate’s ability to write clearly in plain and understandable English.
The WEST-E examinations measure a teaching candidate’s knowledge and proficiency in a particular subject. WEST-E examinations are available for the following subjects:
- Agriculture education
- Bilingual education
- Business and marketing education
- Deaf education
- Designated world languages
- Designated world languages: Latin
- Earth and space science
- Early childhood education
- Early childhood special education
- Elementary education
- English language arts
- English language learners
- Family and consumer sciences education
- Health and fitness
- Library media
- Middle level humanities
- Middle level mathematics
- Middle level science
- Music: choral
- Music: general
- Music: instrumental
- Social studies
- Special education
- Technology education
- Theater arts
- Traffic safety
- Visual arts
Most WEST-E examinations are comprised of 110 multiple-choice questions; however, this is not always the case:
- Elementary education and middle level humanities examinations are comprised of two subtests, each with 55 multiple-choice questions.
- Designated world languages examination has 55 multiple-choice questions.
- Designated world languages: Latin examination is comprised of 70 multiple-choice questions, a translation piece, and an oral reading assignment.
All WEST examinations have a scoring scale of 100 to 300, with 240 being the minimum passing score for every subtest. There is also a minimum passing score requirement of 240 for the total sum of the candidate’s WEST examinations.
Examination check-in procedures vary, depending on whether the examination is hand-written or computer-based. Both examinations require current, signed, government-issue photograph identification; it must be printed in English, and have the same name as the student’s examination registration. The computer-based testing will take a digital signature; a palm scan and/or a digital photograph may also be taken. A WEST examination applicant without proper identification will not be permitted to take the examination, and may not receive a refund or credit for any previously submitted payment. The hand-written examination requires the applicant to bring several sharpened #2 pencils with erasers; pens and mechanical pencils are not permitted.