What Tests Does Each State Require?

Which states use common-core-aligned tests? Which require the SAT or ACT? Browse the results of Education Week's latest state survey of testing plans and see how the national testing landscape has evolved.

What Tests Does Each State Require?

Education Week has tracked states’ testing plans in math and English/language arts since 2014. This year’s survey found a continued, steady erosion in the number of states using the PARCC or Smarter Balanced common-core-aligned tests: five fewer than in 2017. The number of states requiring students to take college-admissions tests, or pass an exit exam to graduate, is holding steady. (For an interactive breakdown of states' 2016-17 testing plans, click here.)

Below are highlights from the latest survey of testing plans. Scroll down to see the full results for 2019.


Which States Use PARCC or Smarter Balanced?

Only ONE-THIRD of the states use the PARCC or Smarter Balanced tests.

  • Fifteen states and the District of Columbia will administer PARCC or Smarter Balanced tests in the spring of 2019. That’s five fewer than in 2016 and 2017.
  • Thirty-two states use tests they designed or bought.
  • Three states give hybrid tests. Two mix their own questions with items from the PARCC/New Meridian item bank, and one adds its own questions onto the full Smarter Balanced test.
  • Read more about the current state of common-core tests.

Learn more about the states using PARCC or Smarter Balanced tests.
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Learn more about the states using non-consortium tests.
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Learn more about the states mixing PARCC and Smarter Balanced with their own items.
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Which States Require Students to Take the SAT or ACT?

Requiring the ACT or SAT is HOLDING STEADY after a rise in popularity.

  • Twenty-five states require students to take the SAT or ACT, the same number as in 2016 and 2017. That number had been climbing steadily—from seven states a decade ago— as states looked for ways to encourage students to go to college.

Learn more about the states that require SAT or ACT.
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Which States Require Exit Exams?

Requiring exit exams is HOLDING STEADY after a decline.

  • Thirteen states require students to pass a test to get a high school diploma, one more than in 2017. In some states, students can use projects or portfolios to meet this requirement. Exit exams used to be more popular: In 2002, more than half the states required them.

Learn more about the states that require exit exams.
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What tests are states requiring in 2018-19?

Below is a complete breakdown of results from our state survey.


State Name 3-8 Test High School Test Exit Exam? Notes
Alabama 3-8 Test: Scantron High School Test: pre-ACT, ACT, ACT WorkKeys Exit Exam? No  
Alaska 3-8 Test: Performance Evaluation for Alaska's Schools (PEAKS) High School Test: PEAKS Exit Exam? No  
Arizona 3-8 Test: AZMerit High School Test: AZMerit end-of-course exam or substitutes Exit Exam? No Notes: Districts may substitute other tests, such as SAT, ACT, IB or AP, for high school AZMerit.
Arkansas 3-8 Test: ACT Aspire High School Test: ACT Aspire Exit Exam? No Notes: All districts must offer ACT, but students not required to participate.
California 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: Smarter Balanced Exit Exam? No  
Colorado 3-8 Test: Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) High School Test: PSAT, SAT Exit Exam? No Notes: CMAS is a mix of questions developed by Colorado and by PARCC/New Meridian.
Connecticut 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: SAT Exit Exam? No  
Delaware 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: PSAT, SAT Exit Exam? No  
District of Columbia 3-8 Test: PARCC High School Test: PARCC, SAT Exit Exam? No  
Florida 3-8 Test: Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) High School Test: FSA Exit Exam? Yes Notes: Students must pass exit exams or achieve specified scores on ACT or SAT.
Georgia 3-8 Test: Georgia Milestones High School Test: Georgia Milestones end-of-course exams Exit Exam? No  
Hawaii 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: Smarter Balanced, ACT Exit Exam? No  
Idaho 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: Smarter Balanced, SAT or ACT Exit Exam? No  
Illinois 3-8 Test: PARCC High School Test: PSAT, SAT Exit Exam? No  
Indiana 3-8 Test: ILEARN High School Test: ISTEP+ Exit Exam? Yes  
Iowa 3-8 Test: Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) High School Test: ISASP Exit Exam? No  
Kansas 3-8 Test: Kansas Assessment Program (KAP) High School Test: KAP Exit Exam? No  
Kentucky 3-8 Test: Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) High School Test: K-PREP, ACT Exit Exam? No  
Louisiana 3-8 Test: Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) High School Test: LEAP end-of-course tests Exit Exam? Yes Notes: LEAP is a mix of questions designed by Louisiana and by PARCC/New Meridian. Students may substitute WorkKeys for ACT.
Maine 3-8 Test: Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) High School Test: SAT Exit Exam? No  
Maryland 3-8 Test: PARCC High School Test: PARCC Exit Exam? Yes  
Massachusetts 3-8 Test: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) High School Test: MCAS Exit Exam? Yes  
Michigan 3-8 Test: Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP), PSAT High School Test: PSAT, SAT, ACT WorkKeys Exit Exam? No Notes: M-STEP includes Michigan-designed questions and the Smarter Balanced test.
Minnesota 3-8 Test: Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) High School Test: MCA Exit Exam? No  
Mississippi 3-8 Test: Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) High School Test: MAAP, ACT Exit Exam? Yes Notes: Students must pass MAAP end-of-course exams, or use other options, including achieving specified scores on the ACT or grades in dual-credit courses.
Missouri 3-8 Test: Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) High School Test: MAP end-of-course tests Exit Exam? No  
Montana 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: ACT Exit Exam? No  
Nebraska 3-8 Test: Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) High School Test: ACT Exit Exam? No  
Nevada 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: ACT Exit Exam? No  
New Hampshire 3-8 Test: New Hampshire Statewide Assessment System (NHSAS), *Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) (some districts) High School Test: SAT Exit Exam? No Notes: *11 districts give NHSAS in grades 3-4 and 6-8, and use locally designed performance assessments (PACE) in other tested grades.
New Jersey 3-8 Test: PARCC High School Test: PARCC Exit Exam? Yes Notes: Students must pass PARCC or use other options, including achieving specified scores on the ACT or SAT.
New Mexico 3-8 Test: PARCC High School Test: PARCC Exit Exam? Yes  
New York 3-8 Test: New York State Assessments High School Test: Regents Examinations Exit Exam? Yes  
North Carolina 3-8 Test: North Carolina End-of-Grade Tests High School Test: North Carolina End-of-Course Tests, ACT Exit Exam? No Notes: WorkKeys required of students completing career-technical education courses of study.
North Dakota 3-8 Test: North Dakota State Assessment (NDSA) High School Test: NDSA Exit Exam? No Notes: Students must take ACT or WorkKeys. Districts may substitute ACT for state high school test.
Ohio 3-8 Test: Ohio's State Tests High School Test: OST end-of-course exams, ACT or SAT Exit Exam? Yes Notes: Students must pass end-of-course exams, or achieve specified scores on other tests, such as ACT or SAT.
Oklahoma 3-8 Test: Oklahoma School Testing Program High School Test: ACT or SAT Exit Exam? No Notes: Districts choose between ACT and SAT.
Oregon 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: Smarter Balanced Exit Exam? No  
Pennsylvania 3-8 Test: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) High School Test: Keystone end-of-course tests Exit Exam? No  
Rhode Island 3-8 Test: Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) High School Test: PSAT, SAT Exit Exam? No  
South Carolina 3-8 Test: SCReady High School Test: end-of-course tests, Ready to Work Exit Exam? No  
South Dakota 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: Smarter Balanced Exit Exam? No  
Tennessee 3-8 Test: TNReady High School Test: TNReady end-of-course tests, ACT or SAT Exit Exam? No Notes: Districts choose between ACT or SAT.
Texas 3-8 Test: State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) High School Test: STAAR end-of-course tests Exit Exam? Yes  
Utah 3-8 Test: Readiness Improvement Success Empowerment (RISE) High School Test: Utah Aspire Plus, ACT Exit Exam? No Notes: Utah Aspire Plus blends Utah-developed items and items from ACT Aspire.
Vermont 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: Smarter Balanced Exit Exam? No  
Virginia 3-8 Test: Standards of Learning (SOL) High School Test: SOL end-of-course exams Exit Exam? Yes Notes: Students must pass SOL exams or achieve specified scores on other tests, including ACT, SAT, AP or IB.
Washington 3-8 Test: Smarter Balanced High School Test: Smarter Balanced Exit Exam? Yes Notes: Students must pass Smarter Balanced, or use other options, including achieving specified scores on ACT, SAT, AP or IB.
West Virginia 3-8 Test: West Virginia General Summative Assessment High School Test: SAT Exit Exam? No  
Wisconsin 3-8 Test: Wisconsin Forward High School Test: ACT Aspire, ACT, ACT WorkKeys Exit Exam? No  
Wyoming 3-8 Test: Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) High School Test: WY-TOPP, ACT Exit Exam? No  



Design & Visualization: Stacey Decker & Vanessa Solis

A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2018 edition of Education Week as What Tests Do States Require in 2018-19?