Alaska has come a long way since its early days when the immigrant American population built schools with private donations. Today, according to the National Education Association, www.nea.org, Alaska has the fourth highest verbal and the fifth highest combined SAT scores among states in which over 50 percent of graduating seniors take the SAT college entrance exam (defined as having high participation rates). The state's schools are also some of the safest in the nation. No schools in Alaska were identified as 'persistently dangerous' under the new 'No Child Left Behind' law. Read the following to understand the states requirements for attaining a high school diploma.
Alaska's Department of Education and Early Development (www.eed.state.ak.us) states that high school students need to take the following courses in order to graduate:
- Four credits language arts
- Three credits social studies
- Two credits mathematics
- Two credits science
- 0.5 credit in health education
- 0.5 credit in physical education
- Local school boards set the remaining credit requirements (nine or more) for their own school districts.
In addition to these curriculum requirements, students must also achieve passing scores on all three tests of the Alaska High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (measuring reading, writing and math competency). Students who have disabilities can, with the approval of the state Department of Education and Early Development, take and pass optional exams. Students who do not pass the exam receive a Certificate of Achievement instead of a diploma.