Statewide assessment shows more than half of students performing below or far from below proficiency

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Results from PEAKS, the Performance Evaluation for Alaska's Schools shows more than half of students tested are performing below proficient or far from proficient in English and Language Arts, Math and Science.

The Department of Education and Early Development says they were not surprised with the results.

"Of course we are not satisfied with the results. However, these are really not surprising these new results. Even though we cannot compare because it is by a different vendor administrator on a new platform," Sana Efird, Deputy Commissioner for Department of Education and Early Development said.

The Department of Education and Early Development says although this is a new test, the results have looked similar to previous assessments.

Efird Said, DEED has a plan for enhancing student performance, Alaska's education challenge.

The challenge was created in February to improve Alaska's education system, Efird said.

Alaska's education challenge is a comprehensive look and reconsideration of Alaska's public education system.

The plan includes five committees — the Student learning committee, Educator excellence, modernization and finance, Tribal and Community ownership, Safety and Well-Being.

The long term goals are to reduce the number of students who are not proficient by half, to increase the high school graduation rate to ninety percent,over a four year period, Bob Williams, Director of Educator & School Excellence said.

Public education advocate, Denna Mitchell says budget cuts may make student success difficult.

"Our state Legislature, our Governor, need to really focus on this issue and I know many of them take it really seriously, but over these past few years we have had a fiscal crisis and it is really turning into an education crisis," Mitchell said.

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