As of July 1st, former Alaskan public high school students that failed the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam and received a certificate of achievement are eligible for a high school diploma.
Governor Sean Parnell signed House Bill 278 which rid the state of the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam. The exit exam was intended to make sure high students were learning everything necessary. However, a student could get passing grades in school but, if they didn’t pass the exit exam, they would not graduate. That left over 3,000 high school students between 2004 and now without a diploma.
Information officer for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Eric Fry says now that the state is no longer requiring that students take the exit exam, it’s only fair that those who failed are retroactively granted a diploma.
“High School Graduation Qualifying Exam which consisted of sections in reading, writing and math. They had to reach a particular score to graduate. Now what they’re saying is now in terms of test, students have to take the SAT, ACT or the Work Keys test. They don’t have to reach a certain score they just have to take those tests. Those tests will be paid for by the state. The idea being to encourage students to take a college ready exam that’s more suited for their needs.”
The bill comes into law during a summer that will see the change of the standardized testing system and the way districts are rated in Alaska.
Students who are interested in obtaining their diploma should contact their district. If the student’s address has changed since the student was in high school, the family is encouraged to contact the district to find out if the student is eligible.