High School Graduation Requirements in Alaska
In Alaska, high school students must earn at least 22.5 credits to graduate. The State Board of Education & Early Development requires students to earn four credits in English, three credits in science, three in math and two credits in health/physical education. Graduates must also have three-and-a-half credits in social studies, including one-half credit in Alaska history which students can earn by demonstrating mastery of the state standards.
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Earning a GED Credential
Alaska also awards the State of Alaska High School Diploma By Examination to all those who successfully complete the General Education Development or GED exam. Although Alaska requires GED candidates to be 18, exceptions are made for 16 and 17-year-old test takers who provide a withdrawal slip from the last high school they attended, a legal emancipation document or written consent from a parent or guardian.
The GED is a seven-and-a-half-hour exam with four separate test sections on language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The tests are taken on a computer, and are available in English and Spanish. The GED tests must be taken in person at a GED testing center. A database of testing sites is available on the GED website, GED.com. The GED can be taken all in one day, or the following test sections can be taken individually, in any order:
- Reasoning through Language Arts - This 150-minute test assesses reading and writing skills. Test takers analyze and interpret reading selections and revise sentences and passages using clear and effective language. The test includes a 45-minute essay.
- Mathematical Reasoning - Problem-solving skills are the main focus of this 115-minute test that includes real-life scenarios involving percents, proportion and averages. Questions also cover problems in algebra and geometry. Calculators can be used for the second part of the test.
- Science - The 90-minute Science section of the GED evaluates the test taker's ability to understand and interpret scientific and technical information. Questions cover life sciences, physical science and Earth and space science. A calculator is allowed for this test.
- Social Studies - The Social Studies test, which is also 70 minutes, covers U.S. history, government, geography and economics. Questions measure the ability to understand and analyze information from texts, maps, charts, graphs and illustrations.
To pass the GED, a minimum score of 145 is required on each of the four test sections. GED candidates who score below 145 on any of the four sections can retest twice with no waiting period. Anyone who needs to take a third retest must wait 60 days. There is no limit on the number of times a test can be taken in any given year.
Students can also earn a high school diploma through iGrad Alaska, a free distance-learning program. Students have individualized learning plans, and coursework and tests are completed online with the support of teachers. Once students complete their iGrad Alaska course and credit requirements, they are awarded a diploma through the Galena City School District, which is part of Alaska's public school system.
Why Get a High School Diploma in Alaska?
Traditionally, students who have received their high school diploma or its equivalent have the potential to earn more over their lifetimes than those without it. It can also prepare students for further levels of study at a college, which can then increase earning potential even more. This can help in the long-term for students to pay back their student loans.