FAQ: Testing and Certification Questions

What tests are required?

All applicants are required to submit passing scores on the WEST-B basic skills test.  This state-required computer-based test has 3 sections: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.  All three sections must be passed by the application deadline.


How do I report scores?

When registering for the test, when you are on the “Institutions to Receive WEST Score Report” screen, please make sure to add University of Washington (Seattle) to receive the report.
If you are applying to more than one program at UW-Seattle, you do not need to request additional score reports.


Do I need to take the GRE?
The GRE is not required (and not considered) in the admissions process.


What can I substitute for the WEST-B requirements?
Applicants may submit SAT or ACT scores in lieu of passing the WEST-B.  Cutoff scores can be found at this link: http://assessment.pesb.wa.gov/basic/west_b-alternative


When and where is the WEST-B offered?
You can register for the WEST-B at this link: http://www.west.nesinc.com/.  Test dates are offered year round at multiple locations.


Where can I find test preparation materials?
Test preparation materials for the WEST-B can be found on their website at https://www.west.nesinc.com/TestView.aspx?f=HTML_FRAG/WA095_PrepMaterials.html


Do you have any tips for preparing for the WEST-B?
Many applicants find it easier to take the three different sections on different dates, as taking all three sections back-to-back-to-back can be intensive and draining.  This is particularly helpful for individuals who experience any sort of test anxiety – this allows for focusing on one subject at a time.


What is the NES and when do I need to take it?
The NES is a state-required subject matter competency exam required for certification.  In order to earn your Elementary Education endorsement, this test must be passed.  There are two subtests.  Subtest I covers Language Arts and Social Studies.  Subtest II covers Mathematics, Science, and Arts/Health/Fitness.


Although this exam is not required for admission into the STR program, please note that residents are responsible for passing this exam for eventual certification.  Residents must pass this test by March of their residency year.  More information can be found on the NES test website.


Do I need to take the TOEFL?
Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington.  If English is not your native language, you must demonstrate proficiency in English.  More information on the specific requirements can be found at this link.


What certification will I earn upon completion of the program?
Graduates of the STR program are eligible for a Washington State Residency Certificate.  This certificate includes an endorsement in Elementary Education (K-8).  Residents in the STR program are required to add a second endorsement – their choice of English Language Learner or Special Education.  Typically, the second endorsement is granted after completing a state required practicum during the fall of your first year teaching.