For Alaska parents, high school students, and teachers anxious about the upcoming state exams to graduate from high school, help has arrived via the internet.
Anchorage teachers and testing researcher Steve Garrison, in consultation with the national company preparing Alaska’s real high school exit exam, have created three practice tests for reading, writing, and math and posted them on the internet. Students can take them online and even get feedback.
The test is available on the Anchorage School District web site at http://www.asd.k12.ak.us/.
High school sophomores across Alaska will sit for the real exams beginning March 7. Students graduating in 2002 or later must pass all three tests to earn a diploma. Otherwise, they’ll leave 13 or more years of schooling behind with just a certificate of attendance.
The practice versions are meant to cover the same kinds of questions as the actual tests. The Anchorage testing experts prepared the practice tests under contract with the state Department of Education, which will also distribute them.
The tests were written by a national testing company, CTB/McGraw-Hill.
As students finish each practice test, the computer scores their work and they can see immediately which questions they got right and wrong. Most of the questions are multiple choice. Some require students to show their work, and a few require written answers.
For the few essay questions, there is simply a description of what a right answer should contain and not an absolute solution. Students are on their honor to grade themselves.
The Anchorage School District exam site also allows students to list a teacher’s name and class period. That allows a teacher to view the results of any students tested.