Alaska school district seeks study of state testing accuracy

October 7, 2019 GMT

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District requested an analysis of the accuracy of statewide student testing that produced lower than expected results, officials said.

The board’s request follows the release of results for the yearly Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools and the Alaska Science Assessment, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Sunday.

The tests are administered to students at various grade levels throughout the state.


The school board’s unanimous resolution last week, which was forwarded to the Association of Alaska School Boards, seeks a thorough analysis by the state to ensure an “accurate and authentic assessment of student learning.”

More than half of Fairbanks district students who were tested scored below proficient or lower in English language arts, compared with 41.8% whose scores were proficient or higher, officials said.

In mathematics, 39.3% of Fairbanks students reached a proficient score or higher. In science, 52% of Fairbanks students scored proficient or higher, officials said.

Fairbanks students scored higher than the state averages across all subjects, officials said.

The Association of Alaska School Boards has more than 330 board members who assist school boards across the state. The Fairbanks resolution is expected to be considered by the association at its fall conference in November.

Standardized tests are always a concern among school districts, and testing changes every few years in Alaska make it difficult to determine progress through the data, Association Executive Director Norm Wooten said.

“What we look at, what we encourage school districts to look at on standardized tests, is a progress model,” Wooten said.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner,