Test scores down in Alaska schools



The results of national student test scores are out, and it was not a good report card for Alaska.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, testing of fourth-graders and eighth-graders, show that Alaska’s students have slipped in both math and reading. Again.

Alaska, long at the bottom in school performance, has slipped further since 2015, the last time the test was administered.

Fourth-grade students were below average in both reading and math. Alaska fourth grade students slipped six points in their math scores, the worst drop in the country. A sample chart of Alaska compared to the rest of the country is shown here:


The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only national test of what students know and can do. The federal government requires state participation in NAEP reading and mathematics assessments in grades 4 and 8 every other year to establish the common measure of student achievement. Only statewide results are reported.


Although Alaska spends more per student than any other state except New York, Rep. Les Gara and 10 other House Democrats say it’s not enough. They propose raising the base per-student spending.

Rep. Les Gara

HB 339 would add $100 per student per year to the education budget, a $25 million increase that would be added to the budget that the House already passed and sent over to the Senate.

The current budget that is under consideration offers flat funding for K-12 education in Alaska.

Proponents of the additional funding say that student enrollment is up and flat funding represents a decrease.

But in fact, in most parts of Alaska, student enrollment is down. Anchorage has lost over 715 students — the equivalent of two elementary schools.

A hearing on HB 339 is scheduled for 1:30 pm Wednesday in House Finance Committee.


[Read: The Nation’s Report Card, a state-by-state analysis]


  1. Stop wasting resources on the kids who aren’t interested in an education. They can get their GED in prison. The smart, motivated kids are the ones who are going to make a difference for society. That’s where to put the time and the money.

    • OK James, you are sounding like it costs little/nothing to incarcerate these kids you want to stop wasting resources on. Your post didn’t sound like satire, to me.
      Throw us a bone here and surmise which it is: spend some money on education (doesn’t have to be college) or spend it on prisons.

      • Might be helpful to recall the difference between education and Alaska’s education industry…

        Spending money on education is a good thing.

        But spending money on our education industry, that’s another story.

        For what that group has done to generations of children, prison’s too good a place for them.

        • OK, I’ll bite here: Since I don’t “recall the difference,” why don’t you spell it out for me.

          • “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King

            “The function of the education industry is to teach dependence on government, encourage politically correct thought, and foster the illusion that academic mediocrity is something which can be fixed only by getting more money.” Morrigan

  2. Perhaps we should get back to basics in education. More funding seems to just result in distractions from the goal to EDUCATE Alaska’s students in the areas that really matter.
    It’s not too surprising that educators are such failures. I could not find even one willing to stand up and take on the awesome responsibility of carrying a firearm to protect students from an attacker. “That’s not MY job’” they said. The “swamp” is not just in DC; it’s in every school across the state! Failing schools should not be rewarded with more funding.


    might better reflect the current state of affairs if changed to:


    Let us always remember the difference.

    • Yessir Bill Jack, our teachers are hamstrung by their local boards of education on how they teach and you think they need to somehow be accountable.
      Talk about horsechit!

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