Content Standards

All children . . . rise easily to the common level. There the mass stop; strong minds only ascend higher. But raise the standard, and, by a spontaneous movement, the mass will rise again and reach it.

--Horace Mann's First Annual Report (1837)


In 1993, Alaskans embarked on a campaign to bring higher standards and accountability to their public school system. The cornerstone of this effort was the development of content standards in ten core subject areas. The standards represent what Alaskans want students to know and be able to do as a result of their public schooling.

This booklet presents the content standards and their associated key elements for English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Government and Citizenship, Skills for a Healthy Life, Arts, World Languages, and Technology.

During 1994 and 1995, the Alaska State Board of Education adopted these standards and key elements as voluntary guidelines for Alaska's schools.

Scores of Alaskans--educators, parents, business people, and professionals, from all areas of the state--worked together to develop and refine the standards. Before adopting them, the Board of Education heard comments from hundreds of other Alaskans about what they liked and disliked in the standards.

Even before the last set of standards was adopted in December, 1995, teams of educators were working on curriculum frameworks, plans for how to teach the new standards and how to integrate them into the classroom. Another team examined assessment issues, answering the critical question: "How will we know if students are reaching the standards?"

These standards are already defining the way Alaska approaches education issues. The focus has shifted from what goes into our education system to what comes out of it. The standards will accomplish three primary goals:

  • Standards will give students and teachers a clear and challenging target.
  • Standards will help focus energy and resources on the bottom line: student achievement.
  • Standards will give all of us a tool for judging how well our students are learning and how well our schools are performing.

All standards - pdf

For additional information on Alaska's standards, write to:

State of Alaska
Department of Education & Early Development
ATTN: Standards
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500

OR call (907) 465-2800