|All students required to take diagnostic exams (not just special education or other subgroup of students)|
|Arkansas||Yes. State uses state-mandated criterion-referenced tests to identify and develop individual academic improvement plans for students who fail to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and math.|
|California||No. However, the California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Program offers assessment materials and diagnostic services to secondary level math teachers upon request. A number of tests are available through the program.|
|Colorado||Yes. Although the CSAP is not a diagnostic exam, the state uses longitudinal tracking of results to provide diagnostic academic growth information for students. Implementation of this program is in the early stages.|
|District of Columbia||No|
|Florida||No. While the PSAT and PLAN are to "provide diagnostic feedback on skills and relate student scores to the probability of success on AP or other advanced course examinations," all 10th graders are not mandated to take these exams. (According to a department report, "Florida currently gives all public schools in the state the opportunity to administer the PSAT (a product of the College Board) or PLAN (a product of ACT, Inc.) to all of their 10th graders, with the cost of the exam covered by state funds.")|
|Illinois||No. However, 2003 legislation directs that, subject to available federal funds, the state was to "provide additional tests and assessment resources that may be used by school districts for local diagnostic purposes. These tests and resources shall include without limitation additional high school writing, physical development and health, and fine arts assessments."|
|Indiana||No, although the department must "make available to schools optional student diagnostic tools such as actual assessment instruments or computer banks containing appropriate essential skills items to assist schools in implementing the diagnostic assessments."|
|Kentucky||No. However, the Voluntary Early Mathematics Testing Program provides all public and private 10th and 11th graders in the state with the opportunity to take online "a variety of diagnostic mathematics tests to identify knowledge and skills needed for postsecondary education courses." The assessments help students determine weaknesses in math skills so that additional math coursework may be taken in high school, with the goal of reducing the need for students to take remedial math upon entry to postsecondary education.|
|Massachusetts||Yes. Comprehensive diagnostic assessments are required to be administered in grade 10. "Said diagnostic assessments shall identify academic achievement levels of all students in order to inform teachers, parents, administrators and the students themselves, as to individual academic performance. The [state board of education] shall develop procedures for updating, improving or refining the assessment system."|
|Michigan||No. However, the "the Michigan virtual high school [must] provide online test preparation resources for all Michigan high school pupils using web-based tools that align with the Michigan merit exam requirements, including the ACT and the revised MEAP exam." The resources must include diagnostic tools.|
|Minnesota||No. The MCA-II is not a diagnostic exam, although the state uses a growth model to provide longitudinal academic growth information for students.|
|Oklahoma||Yes. Although the end-of-instruction tests are not solely diagnostic exams, the test results must be "reported to districts in a manner that yields detailed, diagnostic information for the purpose of guiding instruction and student remediation." The state currently requires students in English II, Algebra I, Biology I, U.S. History to complete the related end-of-instruction assessments. Additonal end-of-instruction tests in English III, Algebra II and Geometry are to be developed and field-tested in 2006-2007 and implemented in 2007-2008.|
|Pennsylvania||Yes. Although the PSSA is not a diagnostic exam, the state uses value-added longitudinal tracking of results to provide diagnostic academic growth information for students. Implementation of this program is in progress.|
|South Carolina||Yes. Schools are to use the PSAT or PLAN administered to to 10th graders "as diagnostic tools to provide academic assistance to students whose scores reflect the need for such assistance."
In addition, the South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act (2005 H.B. 3155) requires the state board, by July 2007, to outline criteria for districts to use in identifying students at risk of dropping out or not being adequately prepared for the next grade level. The language likewise requires the criteria to include diagnostic assessments. However, it is not clear at this time whether all students will be required to take diagnostic assessments, or just those identified as being at risk.
|Texas||Statute directs the state commissioner of education, "in coordination with appropriate representatives of institutions of higher education and school districts," to develop "a diagnostic and assistance program for each subject" tested in the high school exit exams—math, English language arts, social studies and science. Current status of this project is unknown.|
|Washington||Yes. While the state does not have explicit diagnostic assessments, "The assessment system shall be designed so that the results under the assessment system are used by educators as tools to evaluate instructional practices, and to initiate appropriate educational support for students who have not mastered the essential academic learning requirements at the appropriate periods in the student's educational development."|
In addition, the Web site for the office of the superintendent of public instruction must include a guide of diagnostic assessments for voluntary use by districts. By September 2007, the office of the superintendent of public instruction must make "diagnostic assessments that help improve student learning" available to districts. "To the greatest extent possible, the assessments [must] be:
(a) Aligned to the state's grade level expectations;
(b) Individualized to each student's performance level;
(c) Administered efficiently to provide results either immediately or within two weeks;
(d) Capable of measuring individual student growth over time and allowing student progress to be compared to other students across the country;
(e) Readily available to parents; and
Districts must be reimbursed by the state for diagnostic assessments administered "in grade nine for the purpose of identifying academic weaknesses, enhancing student planning and guidance, and developing targeted instructional strategies to assist students before the high school Washington assessment of student learning."
© 2013 by the Education Commission of the States (ECS). All rights reserved. ECS is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education.
To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please fax a request to the attention of the ECS Communications Department, 303.296.8332 or e-mail
Helping State Leaders Shape Education Policy