Academic Testing


In Ellensburg School District, first and foremost assessments and data are used to assist us in knowing each of our students’ strengths and needs and to ensure they are showing adequate growth. As a district, we value the whole child and recognize that quantitative data represents just a portion of the whole. However, data provides an opportunity to be learner-centric as we make instructional decisions, to collaborate with colleagues, to find innovative and creative solutions to common gaps or trends, to ensure that our systems are being used to capacity, to assist in processes of identifying intervention or extension needs, to provide reports to parents, to align our systems expectations, and to celebrate growth. It helps us reflect on our craft. George Couros claims, “Innovation . . . starts not by providing answers but by asking questions” (Innovator’s Mindset 38).  The value of assessments and data does not lie in the answers about our students it provides us; the value lies in the questions it elicits and the ways we choose to respond to those questions.  Data is an integral component of cycles of continuous improvement and must be collected, organized, analyzed, and responded to. In addition to the many ways data can be used to inform instruction in our buildings and classrooms, we also use data to make sure we are meeting state requirements for funding.

There are multiple types of assessment we use in our system which can be read about below. If you have any questions about any of these assessments, or how your child did on them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal. 

State Assessments: these assessments are mandated by Washington State, and most of them also fulfill obligations Washington has under federal laws. They provide us information on how students are achieving with our Washington State Learning Standards in ELA, math, and science. ELA and math assessments are given once a year from 3rd - 9th grade and again in 10th, and science is given in 5th, 8th, and 11th grades. In addition to these three content areas, there are also requirements around other content areas, requirements for kindergarten testing, and requirements for students who qualify for language services. For more information on all these assessments, please visit OSPI’s site here; for Frequently Asked Questions about state testing, please visit OSPI's site here

For more information on how ESD and our schools perform on these assessments compared to other schools across our state, please visit OSPI’s Report Card site here.

District Assessments: these assessments are ones identified by ESD and are used with all students at a given grade level (unless they qualify for significantly modified assessments). We use the following District determined assessments in Ellensburg School District:

  • Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS): This is a reading assessment for kindergarten through 5th grade. You can find out more information on this assessment here.

  • District created/identified foundational skills assessments: these assessments track students proficiency and growth in the foundational areas for both math and ELA and are given to all students kindergarten through 2nd grade.

  • NWEA’s MAP Fluency: this assessment is our dyslexia screener assessment that we are required to give to all students every year kindergarten through 2nd grade, per RCW 28A.320.260.

  • NWEA’s MAP Growth: this is for both math and reading and is given to all students 2nd - 10th grade. For lots of parent resources and information, please visit NWEA’s parent toolkit here.

Classroom Assessments: teachers use classroom or team created assessments to determine each student’s progress in any given class or unit of instruction. These assessments might be included with the adopted curriculum, they might be created by an individual teacher for use in their classroom, or they might be created or identified by a team of teachers working together to meet student need. For more information on how teams collaborate around student data, please see ESD’s information on how we utilize Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in our district here.

Jennifer Kuntz

Titles: Director of Teaching & Learning
Phone Numbers:
School: (509) 925-8008

Gemma Wolfenbarger

Titles: Administrative Assistant of Student Services
Phone Numbers:
School: (509) 925-8447