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Science Curriculum

State Assessment

Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS)

The Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) will be administered beginning in spring 2018 at 5th, 8th, and 11th grade. These tests fulfill the federal (ESSA) requirement that students be tested in science once at each level: elementary, middle, and high school. 

Testing Requirements

Passing the WCAS will be a graduation requirement for students in the class of 2021 and beyond. The table below shows the testing requirements for each graduating class:

Note that the Biology EOC is no longer a graduation requirement and will no longer be administered.

Graduation alternatives will become available once the class of 2021 takes the high school WCAS.

Testing Window

In Seattle Public Schools, the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science will be administered at Grade 11 between May 4 – June 8. Each High School is responsible for scheduling test administration in their building. Contact your school administrator for more information.

What Will Be Assessed?

The WCAS measures the level of proficiency that Washington students have achieved based on the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards, known nationally as  Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which were adopted in WA in October 2013.

The standards are organized into four domains:

  • Physical Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

Each domain has three-dimensional performance expectations that integrate science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. House Bill 1450 supports the transition from a Biology End-of-Course assessment to a “more comprehensive science assessment” (HB 1450, p.9) in high school that includes all four domains and integrates all 3 dimensions of the new science standards.

Test Design and Item Specifications

The test will be administered on computers using the same online engine as the Smarter Balanced assessments. There will be a combination of Multiple Choice, Technology Enhanced (for example, drag and drop, drop-down choices, simulations, graphing) and Short Answer questions that test a student on all three dimensions of the NGSS: Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts.

Details about the test design, item specifications, training tests, and further information is available at the  OSPI Science Assessment Page. In addition, you can  view a presentation from the SPS Science Curriculum and Science Department about the WCAS.