Standardized Tests in Alaska
Overview of Alaska’s Standardized Tests
If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school in Alaska, then you need to know about the standardized tests your child will be taking. To comply with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, Alaska administers standardized tests to students beginning in 3rd grade through high school.
Time4Learning, an online education service that teaches many of the skills these exams test, offers this page to help you understand Alaska’s standardized tests and how you can help your children prepare.
Standards-Based Assessment (SBA) Test
The Alaska Standards-Based Assessment (SBA) test is administered to students in 3rd grade through 10th grade. Students are tested in reading, writing and math. Students in 4th, 8th and 10th grade also take a science test. For each of the subject areas tested, students are rated at one of the following four levels:
- Below proficient
- Far below proficient
SBA test scores do not determine if a student will be promoted to the next grade or held back. However, a score below proficient usually suggests the student needs additional assistance.
High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE)
In 10th grade, students in Alaska take the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE). The HSGQE includes tests in reading, writing and math. Students are scored as either proficient or not proficient and must pass the HSGQE in order to graduate. Like the SBA, the HSGQE is a standards-based test that measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Alaska. Students can retake the test up to twice a year.
Terra Nova CAT/6
Fifth grade and seventh grade students also take the Terra Nova California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6) to assess reading, writing and math skills. Unlike the SBA and HSGQE, which are standards-based tests, the Terra Nova CAT/6 is a norm-referenced test. Based on a percentile rank, the Terra Nova CAT/6 test measures how students in Alaska compare with students nationally in reading, language arts and mathematics.
For more information about standardized tests in Alaska, visit Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.
What Do the State Assessment Test Scores Mean?
Alaska uses the SBA and HSGQE test scores to determine whether schools and school districts are making adequate progress toward academic proficiency. Schools in Alaska receive one of four designations: distinguished, successful, deficient or in crisis. Schools designated as “deficient” or “in crisis” must submit plans for improvement.
Preparing for Alaska’s SBA, HSGQE and Terra Nova CAT/6 Tests
For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page. The real preparation for Alaska’s standardized tests such as the SBA, HSGQE and Terra Nova CAT/6, as well as all standardized tests that assess a wide range of fundamental skills, is to steadily build and master skills in math, reading and writing fundamentals.
Parents can help students succeed in school by making a special effort to get involved in their children’s education. You should ensure your children are doing their homework every night and reading and writing on a daily basis. In addition, families can hire tutors or use online learning programs such as Time4Learning and Time4Writing to supplement their children’s schoolwork and help to build fundamental skills.
To help your children prepare for state standardized tests such as Alaska’s SBA and HSGQE tests, you can enroll your children in a test prep program or buy books to help them become familiar with test formats and terminology, to learn test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), to become comfortable with time restrictions, and to practice answering different types of questions.
For instance, when a reading passage is followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions prior to reading the passage so that they can pay special attention to the areas addressed by questions.
Most states release copies of tests or sample test questions from previous years. Parents can use these released test questions as resources to help students practice test skills and students can spend the majority of their time reviewing the key concepts within the sample test questions.
Time4Learning is not a test prep program; instead, it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.
Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.
The online language arts and math curriculum comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.
Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.
Have a child with math and reading skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.
Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!
For more information or resources on Alaska education, visit:
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Alaska Homeschooling Information
Alaska State Parent Forum