Teacher Testing Requirements

Basic Skills Testing Requirement for WA Teacher Certification  (New teachers only)  (Washington state certified teachers seeking to an endorsement via the Retooling program do not need to take the WEST B test.)

On April 24th, Governor Inslee signed HB 1621 , a bill to help admit more candidates into the teaching profession by removing the requirement of meeting a specific score on the WEST–B (WA Educator Skills Test - Basic) exam.

Candidates will still be required to take a basic skills assessment for admission to a preparation program and for teacher certification, but candidates will no longer need to achieve a specific passing score. The WEST–B is a basic skills assessment in reading, writing, and mathematics. The basic skills assessment will now be used as one of multiple measures that gauge a candidate's skills upon entry.

To clarify this new law, the WEST B (or an approved alternative test) must still be taken and then this information will be used to help make an informed decision about acceptance into the NWED certification program.  


Basic Skills Tests:

In Washington State all candidates are required to take the WEST-B or equivalent test.  Equivalents tests include the SAT or ACT. If using the SAT or ACT, please send us the scores for evaluation.


If the candidate has failed one subtest by fewer than 10 points they can gain admission to the program by:

  • Passing the NES/WEST-E in their content subject (not the SPED WEST-E)

plus one of the following criteria:

  • Show proof that they are an ELL candidate (if the failed subtest was Writing)

  • Having a college GPA of 3.0 or higher   

  • May provide a written explanation of why they feel they should qualify for exemption from the WEST-B passing requirement 

Candidates that have failed more than one subtest, or who fail a section by more than 10 points will need to retake the WEST B. 



A great resource for WEST B test preparation (Free to access too!)

This open access Canvas course is meant to support all individuals hoping to become a certified teacher in Washington State: 




Content Tests:  (For both new teachers and Retoolers)

Content tests are not a requirement of program acceptance and are generally taken after entering the program and prior to starting the student teaching field experience for new teachers and before program completion for Retooling candidates.

For new teachers, content tests need to be passed before entering the field experience. Content tests for Washington:




World Language ACTFL


It is very important to take the content test as soon as you have been accepted into the program (or even before).  In order to start your field placement, you will need to have this test passed.  Also, candidates that are conditionally certified will need this passed before the program can sign the 4050E verification of program entry document from OSPI.

You can find additional information on equivalent tests here. These tests cover your knowledge of the specific subject you want to teach.  Here is our list and the required test (this is subject to change):


Elementary - NES Subtests 1 & 2

English Language Arts - NES

Mathematics - NES

Social Studies - NES

Early Elementary - NES

Biology - NES

Chemistry - NES

Designated World Languages - WEST-E, ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview, ACTFL Written Proficiency Test

Content tests must be taken and passed before a candidate can enter their field experience.


To register for WEST or NES tests: http://www.west.nesinc.com/


To register for ACTFL: https://www.actfl.org/

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