Totem Correspondence believes that assessment is an important part of education. We also believe that there are many different types of valid assessments (beyond just tests), and different ways to utilize them. Totem Correspondence can help you find assessments that fit your preference and family needs and that help measure and showcase your student’s learning and progress over the year.

There are other options you may choose to use to meet your needs. Totem will always work with you to find what fits for your family and student.

Totem Correspondence does not require specific tests for grade level advancement.

AK STAR and AK Science

The Alaska Department of Education used to offer the PEAKs assessment every Spring. They are now offering the AK STAR and AK Science assessments.

Assessments are for the following grades:

  • English/Language Arts: Grades 3 - 9
  • Math: Grades 3 - 9
  • Science: Grades 5, 8, and 10 only

In order to be transparent, below are pertinent State Regulations:

  • 4 AAC 06.820 (

    (a) …Each school and district in the state shall ensure that all students enrolled in tested grades are given the opportunity to and expected to participate in the state assessments, and shall have a target of 95 percent participation in assessments.”

  • 4 AAC 06.820 (

    (j) A school that misses the 95 percent participation rate target for the all-students group or any subgroup defined in 4 AAC 06.830 in English language arts, mathematics, or both for two consecutive years must create and submit an improvement plan to the district...”

  • AS 14.03.016(a) (

    (a) A local school board shall, in consultation with parents, teachers, and school administrators, adopt policies to promote the involvement of parents in the school district’s education program. The policies must include procedures

    (1) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to object to and withdraw the child from a standards-based assessment or test required by the state;

    (4) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to withdraw the child from an activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment or test required by the state for a religious holiday, as defined by the parent;


Totem Correspondence supports and offers Renaissance STAR testing for Reading and Math free of charge. These are adaptive assessments of about 35 questions each. Students may take these assessments at home. These can be used for placement and progress assessing. We are able to generate very basic, or very detailed, reports for you to access.

For progress, they are useful in numerous ways:

  • Beginning and End of year
  • Beginning of year, Mid-year, End of year
  • Beginning of year, End of all Quarters

Email your Teacher of Record to set up an account for your student. Always remember to email your Teacher of Record when your student has completed an assessment so they may generate and email you the reports.