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WASHINGTON - On April 24, Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1621. This bill helps admit more candidates into a teaching profession by removing the requirement of meeting a specific score on the WEST-B exam.

Nationally, there is a shortage on school teachers. In Washington, this bill would help increase the number of educators.

According to the State of Washington Professional Educator Standards board, students needed a score of 240 out of 300 in each category to pass the test. The exam will still be required to get into the program but the score requirement will not be as high.

Students will be placed in specific teaching fields according to the strengths of their scores.

The sponsors for this House Bill are Representatives Ybarra, Steele, Santos, Harris, Bergquist, Ortiz-Self and Jinkins; by request of Professional Educator Standards Board.

The summary of of the bill states that achieving minimum assessment scores on the basic skills assessment is no longer required for admission to a teacher preparation program.

The summary of the substitute bill requires that an applicant to a teacher preparation program take a basic skills assessment and report the result to the Professional Educator Standards Board and the teacher preparation program, so that the result can be used to determine the applicant's readiness for the program.

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 assessment approved by the PESB.

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

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