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Washington State Requires Prospective Teachers to Take New Basic Skills Test

Students who are accepted into teacher-education programs at colleges and universities in the state of Washington after Sept. 1, 2002 will be required to pass a battery of tests on basic skills in order to be certified.

Students taking introductory courses this fall must sign up for the Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic, which will test reading, mathematics and writing skills. The test, known as the WEST-B, will be administered at specific sites in Washington state, and will cost $81 for the entire battery. The test may be retaken, but students will be required to pay an additional fee for each examination.

Students may register for the WEST-B online at www.west.nesinc.com or by calling (800) 784-4999. The website lists registration deadlines, test dates, and test locations, as well as study guides and other information on the exams.

Whitworth University students seeking teacher certification should consider taking this exam as early as possible since passage will be required for full admission into the teacher-education program.

The WEST-B will take the place of Whitworth's on-campus testing and will standardize the process statewide. Undergraduate students will be introduced to the test standards in EDU 202, Exploring Teaching, prior to their admission to the program. Master in Teaching (MIT) students will be required to pass the WEST-B prior to beginning the MIT program.

"Having to pass a basic skills test is nothing new for Whitworth teacher-education students," says Dennis Sterner, dean of Whitworth’s School of Education. "Our students have been tested on language usage and mathematics computation using the California Achievement Test, and have been required to submit samples of their writing prior to admission to the undergraduate teacher-education program. Master in Teaching students must take the Graduate Record Examination and also submit writing samples prior to admission."

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