Check with your school for exact testing dates within these test windows.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Video: Different Tests-Different Results

Welcome to the Assessment Department website for the Issaquah School District. This site provides information about state, district and college-readiness assessments.

Assessment Philosophy

The Issaquah School District believes that an effective system for improving K-12 learning requires implementation of a comprehensive assessment system. A comprehensive assessment system connects curriculum, instruction and assessment by aligning instruction to curriculum standards and by using assessments to determine students’ status and progress on these standards.

The Issaquah School District’s assessment system is designed to serve two major purposes: instructional support and educational accountability. Current research and discussions of assessment approaches have led to a distinction between these two purposes as assessment of learning and assessment for learning. This distinction among assessments is based on the function they serve. State, district, building level, and classroom assessments may be formative or summative depending on how the information is used. While it is convenient to describe the components of a comprehensive assessment system separately, the effectiveness of the system depends on the interconnections of the parts.

For more information click here to read "Improving Learning Through a Comprehensive Assessment System".

State Testing

Overview-Smarter Balanced NEW State tests
Washington will replace some of our state tests with new exams aligned to the Common Core standards in math and English language arts. The new exams are part of a comprehensive system called “Smarter Balanced.”  

Which tests will students take this year?
Washington students are tested regularly by the state to assess their progress as they move through school. Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, state tests include:

  • New Smarter Balanced tests: English language arts (ELA) and math for grades 3-8 and 11 
  • Measurements of Student Progress (MSP): Science test for grades 5 and 8
  • High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE): Reading and writing tests
  • End-of-Course (EOC): Math and biology tests taken as students finish algebra 1, geometry, and biology

More information on state testing requirements can be found at:

Grad RequirementsHigh school students must pass tests, or state approved alternatives, to be eligible to graduate. Required tests vary by expected year of graduation. A student’s expected year of graduation is set when he/she enters the 9th grade. The state legislature determines graduation requirements. More information on graduation requirements can be found here and on the Washington State Board of Education website


About one percent of students participate in the Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) a challenging program for students in special education. More information about the alternative assessment system can be found at:

Other State Assessments

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):
NAEP is a national assessment that allows educational achievement to be compared across states.  Federal law requires every state to give the NAEP in reading and math at grades 4 and 8 every two years. States and school districts that receive Title I federal funding to aid educationally disadvantaged students in high poverty areas must participate in these assessments.

Second Grade Fluency and Accuracy Assessment:
Every student is assessed at the beginning of second grade using a grade-level equivalent reading passage.

English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA 21):
ELPA21 is a system based on the new English Language Proficiency Standards our state recently adopted. The new tests will measure the language proficiency of English language learners (ELLs).  ELPA21 is being developed through federal grants totaling $9.080,044 and will be administered to students online. Four language domains will be assessed: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. For additional information

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