Skip to main content

Study Guide


Section 1: Overview of the Program

In 2000, the Washington State Legislature passed HB 2760, which created the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB). In addition to its authority and responsibilities related to high standards for Washington educators, the PESB has authority for assessing the basic skills and content knowledge of prospective teachers applying to educator preparation programs and applicants for residency certification in Washington State.

The Washington Educator Skills Tests (WEST) were established as a uniform means of assessing the basic skills competency and content knowledge of all teacher candidates, as proposed by the governor, legislature, state board of education, and superintendent of public instruction. The WEST program administered by the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson includes assessments of both teacher candidates' basic skills competency and their content knowledge.

For additional information about the WEST and other educator assessments accepted by the PESB, visit the Assessments section opens in a new window of the PESB website.

Test Development

The WEST are criterion referenced and objective based. A criterion-referenced test is designed to measure a candidate's knowledge and skills in relation to an established standard (a criterion), rather than in relation to the performance of other candidates.

Objectives are broad, meaningful statements that, as a whole, define the content of the test. Each test is composed of questions that measure a candidate's mastery of these test objectives. Committees of Washington State educators reviewed all test objectives developed for the WEST–B and for each WEST–E. A content validation survey, involving Washington school personnel as well as Washington college and university faculty members, was conducted for each set of test objectives. Each survey participant reviewed the test objectives to rate their importance. Test questions were developed to match each objective and reflect the knowledge and/or skills described in textbooks, the Washington Essential Academic Learning Requirements, curriculum guides, and teacher endorsement competencies opens in a new window. Washington educators and content specialists then reviewed the test questions to ensure that content is current and accurate.

The test objectives for each field are organized into frameworks that can be found in Section 3 of this study guide.