What Tests Does Each State Require?

By Catherine Gewertz — February 15, 2017 | Updated: March 05, 2019 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.

Jump to a Section

    Which States Use PARCC or Smarter Balanced?

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

    23assessment parcc smarterbalanced map 700

    • 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.
    Learn more about the states using non-consortium tests.
    Learn more about the states mixing PARCC and Smarter Balanced with their own items.

    Which States Require Students to Take the SAT or ACT?

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

    23assessment sat act map 700

    • 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.

    Which States Require Exit Exams?

    Requiring exit exams is HOLDING STEADY after a decline.

    23assessment exit exams map 700

    • 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.

    What Tests Are States Requiring in 2018-19?

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

    Design & Visualization: Stacey Decker & Vanessa Solis
    A version of this article appeared in the February 15, 2017 edition of Education Week as What Tests Do States Require in 2018-19?


    Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
    Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
    This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
    Curriculum Webinar
    Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
    Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
    Content provided by

    EdWeek Top School Jobs

    Teacher Jobs
    Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
    View Jobs
    Principal Jobs
    Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
    View Jobs
    Administrator Jobs
    Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
    View Jobs
    Support Staff Jobs
    Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
    View Jobs

    Read Next

    Assessment Cardona Says Standardized Tests Haven't Always Met the Mark, Offers New Flexibility
    The U.S. Department of Education is seeking to reinvigorate a little-used pilot program to create new types of assessments.
    7 min read
    Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
    Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
    Mark Schiefelbein/AP
    Assessment Opinion The 4 Common Myths About Grading Reform, Debunked
    Grading reformers and their critics all have the same goal: grades that truly reflect student learning. Here’s how we move forward.
    Sarah Ruth Morris & Matt Townsley
    5 min read
    Venn diagram over a macro shot of A- on white results sheet. Extremely shallow focus. Letter grades are highlighted.
    E+/Getty + Vanessa Solis/Education Week
    Assessment If ChatGPT Can Write Virtually Anything, What Should a National Writing Exam Test?
    That's a question the board that oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress is confronting amid AI's rapid ascendance.
    6 min read
    Image of a person using a computer, with glasses, papers, and pencil on the desk too.
    Assessment From Our Research Center Few Educators Say A-F and Numeric Grades Offer 'Very Effective' Feedback for Students
    Fewer than 1 in 6 educators—13 percent— say that A through F or numeric grades are a “very effective way” to give feedback to students.
    3 min read
    Cropped image of teacher standing in front of a blurred classroom of students with test results in hand showing the letter A in red.