ASD Implements New Testing Requirement for Juniors, Seniors

Recently, the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE) was replaced with the College Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA) as a graduation requirement, Dimond’s Assistant Principal of Curriculum Frank Hauser said.

“Last year was the last year that the students had to take the HSGQE,” he said.

“When the state pulled the HSGQE as a requirement that all students must have before graduation, they did want to have a college and career readiness assessment” as a graduation requirement, Hauser said.

For the CCRA requirement, students can take the ACT, SAT or WorkKeys test. The tests will be administered at the school throughout the year, and the state will pay for only one of the three tests if the student does not have a CCRA on record.

“It is mandatory that every single student that graduates from the Anchorage School District” has an CCRA on file, Hauser said.

“Students are not required to take a CCRA at school if they have a current WorkKeys, ACT, or SAT on file. Any junior or senior that does not have a CCRA on file will need to register for one of the in-school tests to meet the new requirement.”

A student does not have to “score a certain level on the ACT or SAT or WorkKeys. It is just [the state wants] to make sure that you have that before you graduate,” he said.

Students in the graduating class of 2015 or before were required to take the WorkKeys test their junior year, which fills the CCRA requirement, but the students were not given the chance to choose which CCRA the state paid for. Students who are in the class of 2015, but were not in the school district while their peers took the WorkKeys test, and have not taken any of the CCRA test, will have the same opportunity as the current juniors and be able to choose which CCRA they want to take.

“The current juniors and seniors, are in some way lucky because last year all juniors were required to do the WorkKeys. Those juniors are now seniors, so most of those students have a College Career Readiness Assessments on file,” Hauser said.

“If there were seniors that were new to Dimond, from say out of state, or out of the district, that didn’t take that assessment, then the state is paying for them to have that College and Career readiness Assessment as well,” Hauser said.

“We have right now about 250 students that have signed up for the SAT. We have about 90 that have signed up for the ACT, and we have about 60 that have signed up for the WorkKeys,” he said.

The WorkKeys test will be held in Dimond’s computer labs on Dec. 3. As of right now, the plan is to hold the SAT and ACT in the old gym and a secondary room, Hauser said.

“That is the current plan, that is, of course, it’s about four months away, so that could change depending on restrictions that we may be made aware of later on.”

The SAT will be held Feb. 25, and the ACT will be on March 3. The entire testing process will take most of the school day.

While taking the CCRA, students will miss class, Hauser said. “They’ll need to coordinate with the teachers to see what they miss, but it will be considered an excused absence.”

Hauser said, “We still have the science SBA that we will be doing this year, but no, the SBAs have gone away. They are now being replaced by the AMP, the Alaska’s Measure of Performance.”

Some students who took the WorkKeys test last year may be unhappy to learn that they won’t be able to choose which test is paid for.

For example, Senior Breanna Jingco is upset because she thinks “it is not fair for those who paid” for a CCRA before this policy was put in place.