In 2022 statewide math, science and language arts assessments, Alaskan students fell far short of their skills


Most Alaska students tested in statewide assessments in spring 2022 did not master math, language arts and science.

Both assessments, the AK STAR and the Alaska Science Assessment, were distributed to a range of elementary through high school students.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning, the “results are unacceptable,” Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Acting Commissioner Heidi Teshner said in a statement.

“However, the truth is that Alaska’s results were unacceptable before the pandemic,” she said.

Here’s how the students scored:

• 70% of the students tested did not master the arts of the English language.

• 77% of students tested did not master mathematics.

• 62% of students tested were not proficient in science, which included students in grades five, eight and ten.

• Some grade levels performed particularly poorly — 81.5% of ninth graders and 87.6% of eighth graders did not master math.

• In the Anchorage School District, 66% of students lacked English proficiency and 72.85% lacked math proficiency.

Educators across the state are dealing with two years of learning loss from trauma resulting from the pandemic, Lisa Parady, executive director of the Alaska Council of School Administrators, said in a written statement. “The direct crisis of the pandemic has been compounded at all levels by insufficient internet access and the turnover of educators at the crisis level,” she said.

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“Looking and adding excessive significance to test scores now would be short-sighted when schools in Alaska need to focus entirely on growth and recovery,” Parady said.

She added, “Teachers and students all over Alaska go to school and work hard every day. We can’t let these (especially expected) results keep us from acknowledging the courage, curiosity and commitment they bring to this task every day. »

The results were not surprising and indicative of the pandemic’s impact on student learning, said Tom Klaameyer, president of the National Education Association’s Alaska branch. The assessments will help identify gaps in students’ knowledge and skills and can inform future teaching, he said.

“You know, too often I think people were like, ‘Oh, we’re past the pandemic,'” he said. “And frankly, we’re still dealing with it in many ways, and even though we’re in a recovery period, it’s going to take time. So a balance of a little bit of patience and grace and understanding, but also, you know, knowing that we have our work cut out.

Participation in assessments varied by school and student, with particularly low numbers of students at state correspondence schools, so education officials cautioned that the results do not represent all students in the state. Alaska.

The AK STAR assessment is new this year, as the state previously used the PEAKS assessment, and the two tests are designed differently. The results of the two “cannot be directly compared without caveat,” according to the state education department.

Even still, before the pandemic and the use of AK STAR assessments, in 2018 half of the students who took statewide assessments did not meet grade level standards.

Meanwhile, results from a national assessment of learning progress called the National Assessment of Education Progress, released last month, showed Alaska’s reading scores remained the same as before the pandemic, while math scores were down.

Districts across the state have until Dec. 9 to distribute student-level results from the AK STAR and Alaska Science Assessment to students, families, and teachers. The Anchorage School District plans to release these results via Parent Connect on Dec. 2, according to a spokesperson.

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