The High School Graduate Qualifying Exam

What is the High School Graduate Qualifying Exam (HSGQE)?

This is a test that all students must pass in Alaska in order to graduate with a diploma from high school. The test has three different parts: reading, writing, science and math.  Students take this test for the first time in the spring of 10th grade. If a student does not pass one or more parts, the student is able to retake the test in the fall and spring of 11th and, if need be, 12th grade.

A student who does not pass one or more parts of the HSGQE, but earns all the required school district credits by the end of 12th grade will earn a Certificate of Achievement instead of a diploma. A student may continue taking the HSGQE after high school until all parts are passed, though the school district is not responsible for supporting the student.

Why do we have the HSGQE?

Business leaders and legislatures across the state wanted to ensure that all students who graduated from high school, regardless if they live in an urban or rural area, graduate with reading, writing, and math skills that will allow them to successfully enter the work force.

Who must take the HSGQE?

All students in Alaska must take this exam. If a student has an individual education plan (IEP) that student may have accommodations. For further information speak to your school or go to and click on the link called “Guidance for Parents of Ninth Graders Transitioning into High School.”

What happens when my child passes the HSGQE?

Your child has met one of the requirements for earning a diploma. It is strongly recommended that students continue taking math, reading, and writing classes in high school, even if the student has passed all three parts of the HSGQE. Passing the HSGQE doesn’t guarantee the child is ready for higher education after high school. The HSGQE measures minimum skills a student should have after attending public school.

HSGQE Practice Tests and Scoring Guides can be found by clicking this link: HSGQE Practice Exams.

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