West Virginia began development of a "new" statewide accountability assessment for grades 3-8 and 10 aligned to the state content standards and objectives in 2002. The West Virginia Educational Standards Test (WESTEST) was a part of West Virginia's statewide accountability assessment program for the school years 2003-2004 through 2007-2008. Starting in the 2009-2010 school year, WESTEST 2 replaced WESTEST.

Another component of the West Virginia statewide accountability assessment program is the Alternate Performance Task Assessment (APTA) for a small number of students with significant cognitive disabilities who cannot participate in the statewide assessment even with accommodations. APTA was first administered in 2005-2006. APTA was expanded in 2008 to include science and further modified in 2009 when the accountability high school grade changed to grade 11 instead of grade 10.

WESTEST and APTA have been peer reviewed as per the requirements for technical adequacy defined by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. West Virginia was one of the first states to have the statewide accountability assessments (WESTEST and APTA) fully approved without recommendation by the Elementary and Secondary Office, United States Department of Education. See Federal Peer Review Letter - FULL APPROVAL. Additional Federal Review letters are located at: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/nclbfinalassess/index.html

The development of WESTEST 2 was necessitated by the revision of West Virginia's content standards and objectives (CSOs) to be more rigorous and challenging while incorporating 21st century knowledge and skills. Because the accountability assessment changed from WESTEST to WESTEST 2, the West Virginia Department of Education will be submitting evidence to the Elementary and Secondary Education Office of the United States Department of Education for a Peer Review of WESTEST 2 in early 2010.