2013 – Hawaii’s Public Schools Make Broad Progress

It’s not the kind of headline you’d expect to hear.  Undoubtedly, many still cling to the notion that Hawaii’s public schools are subpar.  For those looking for a national comparison, check out http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/ .  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Hawaii — the state that in the 1990’s lagged its peers — is now equal to or better than the national average in several categories.  

The data below were pulled from the website above by using the drop-down menu and selecting Hawaii.

Assessment   Average Scale Score   Achievement Level  
Subject Grade Year   State National
  at or above
  Avg. SE Avg. SE   Pct. SE Pct. SE Pct. SE  
Mathematics 4 2013   243 (0.8) 241 (0.2)   83 (0.8) 46 (1.3) 9 (0.7)  
    2011   239 (0.7) 240 (0.2)   80 (0.8) 40 (1.0) 6 (0.5)  
  8 2013   281 (0.8) 284 (0.2)   72 (1.0) 32 (1.1) 7 (0.6)  
    2011   278 (0.7) 283 (0.2)   68 (0.9) 30 (0.9) 6 (0.4)  
Reading 4 2013   215 (1.0) 221 (0.3)   62 (1.3) 30 (1.2) 7 (0.7)  
    2011   214 (1.0) 220 (0.3)   59 (1.2) 27 (1.1) 6 (0.7)  
  8 2013   260 (0.8) 266 (0.2)   71 (1.0) 28 (1.1) 2 (0.5)  
    2011   257 (0.7) 264 (0.2)   68 (1.2) 26 (1.1) 2 (0.4)  
¹Accommodations were not permitted for this assessment.
# Rounds to zero.
† Not applicable.
Note: Standard Errors (SE) are shown in parentheses.
Higher than National public
Not significantly different from National public
Lower than National public
A quick reading is clear.  Hawaii’s scores are rising, and we’re not significantly different than the rest of the nation in mathematical achievement.  We have a similar proportion of public school elementary and middle school students at or above the basic level in mathematics, and — surprisingly to those not following Hawaii’s public schools closely — we EXCEED the nation in fourth grade mathematics.  In this category, our students measuring above proficient is statistically higher than the nation.
On reading, we still have work to do.  While our scores for both fourth grade and eighth grade students performing at an advanced level is no different than the nation, the percentage of Hawaii students at or above the basic level continues to lag.  Here too, there is hope.  In a two year span, both the fourth and eighth grade scores rose 3 percentage points.  Another surprising note is that scores rose from fourth to eighth grade, suggesting that Hawaii’s keiki may simply have a different learning path.
To be sure, I’m not too impressed thus far by the quality of NAEP testing, but it is one of the few indicators we have of how our students compare to the rest of the Nation.  I think there is much more to be said of Hawaii’s education, and one that I appreciate is that our system is statewide: the only one in the entire Nation.  We don’t have the same level of gross inequality, where richer districts somehow are able to reserve more resources per child than those in less advantaged areas.  Ours is, after all, the only one funded by state, not local, government.

Hawaii Kai Auntie

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Hawaii Kai Auntie

News from Hawaii Kai and East Oahu. My ❤ passions include kids, education, #rstats, technology and our environment. Casual strategy game player and DIY er.