Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Education Committee

HB 1621

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning basic skills assessments for approved teacher preparation programs.

Sponsors: Representatives Ybarra, Steele, Santos, Harris, Bergquist, Ortiz-Self and Jinkins; by request of Professional Educator Standards Board.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Provides that achieving minimum assessment scores on any of the following assessments is no longer required: basic skills assessment for admission to a teacher preparation program; and uniform, externally administered assessment for professional teacher certification.

  • Requires that an applicant to a teacher preparation program take a basic skills assessment and report the result to the program so that the result can be used to determine the applicant's readiness for the program.

Hearing Date: 2/12/19

Staff: Megan Wargacki (786-7194).


With some exceptions, applicants must achieve the minimum score established by the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) on the following assessments:

Since 2002, a basic skills assessment in reading, writing, and mathematics has generally been required: (1) for admission to a PESB approved teacher preparation program; and (2) for people from out-of-state applying for a residency teacher certificate. Since 2013, tests that are comparable in rigor to the basic skills assessment may be accepted by a teacher preparation program if an applicant meets or exceeds a minimum score set by the PESB. However, the PESB must set the minimum score at no lower than the average national scores for the SAT or ACT.

On an individual basis, teacher preparation programs may admit students who have not achieved the minimum basic skills assessment score, though passage of the assessment is required to receive a teacher certification. In addition, people from out-of-state who are applying for a teacher certification or for a master's degree level teacher preparation program may demonstrate that they have the requisite basic skills based on completion of an assessment or alternative approved by the PESB.

Summary of Bill:

Achieving a minimum assessment score is no longer required for any of the following assessments:

An applicant for an approved teacher preparation program must take the basic skills assessment, or an alternative or equivalent assessment determined by the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB). The applicant must report the assessment results to the state and the program. The teacher preparation program may use the assessment result as a formative assessment of academic strengths and weakness in determining the applicant's readiness for the program.

The PESB is no longer required to set the acceptable score for admission to teacher preparation programs at no lower than the average national scores for the SAT or ACT.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.