Standards-based instruction and high-stakes testing have led to substantial growth in student achievement for several years. Between 2003 and 2012, the percentage of students testing proficient on the Hawaii State Assessment (HSA) increased from 41 percent to 71 percent in reading and 39 percent to 59 percent in math.
Achievement gains were particularly remarkable in 2012, when students in every grade increased their scores in both reading and math.
In 2010-2011, the DOE moved to an online adaptive version of the Hawaii State Assessment that offers scores as soon as students complete the test. Schools can use this data to decide whether to test any or all their students a second or third time, allowing students a greater chance at meeting English language arts and math expectations. Under the paper-and-pencil format, schools could only offer the test once and had to wait months to learn the results.
In addition to the new online testing, the proficiency targets that determine schools’ No Child Left Behind (NCLB) status has risen significantly. To demonstrate Adequate Yearly Progress, 72 percent of students had to be proficient in reading and 64 percent had to be proficient in math.
Teachers and students rose to the challenge, producing significant gains in math and reading proficiency.
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
Hawaii was among the first of more than 40 states to adopt the internationally-benchmarked Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics, which were developed through a state-led initiative to create a clear, common set of learning expectations that build in complexity at each grade level.
Last year, Hawaii’s public schools begun implementing these new standards, starting in grades K, 1, 2, 11 and 12, as well as in Algebra II courses. By school year 2013-2014, the CCSS will provide the basis for instruction and assessment at all grade levels.
To prepare schools for the shift, the Department created crosswalk documents to help teachers identify where content already being taught under the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III is also included in the CCSS. Professional development opportunities helped schools develop curriculum maps and pacing guides to assist teachers aligning their instructional plans to the new standards.
The Department’s training offered educators an overview of the standards and familiarized them with key ideas. In English language arts, students should be able to read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts that build in complexity at each grade-level, as well as write well-reasoned arguments with increasing sophistication and substance as they advance toward graduation.
In math, the CCSS offer a similar progression of traditional math concepts, as well as an emphasis on Standards for Mathematical Practices, which describe the processes, proficiencies and habits of mind that must be addressed along with content standards.
The Common Core State Standards are being phased in gradually because the Hawaii State Assessment is currently aligned with the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III. In 2013-14, students in tested grades will transition to a bridge HSA that will measure overlapping content and skills between CCSS and HCPS III.
Hawaii, as part of the multi-state Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced), will implement an assessment aligned to the CCSS in 2014-15.
The comprehensive assessment system calls for strategic use of a variety of item types and performance events to measure the full range of CCSS and to ensure accurate assessment of all students, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and low- and high-performing students.
The Department is keenly aware that certain schools and student subgroups have persistently struggled under the current standards, but Tanimura believes all students can learn and should be held to the same high expectations. Data will be used to identify students who need extra support, she added.
The nationwide shift to the CCSS will lead to consistency among states in terms of grade level content and even instructional materials.
This could be particularly beneficial to students from military families and others who might change schools several times before they graduate. Students transferring to new schools will still learn the same set of skills. Textbooks also will be aligned as publishers develop instructional materials tied to the CCSS.
DATA FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTData analysis is a fundamental piece of Hawaii’s Race to the Top plan to transform public schools statewide. Data systems in place and under development offer teachers, administrators and state support staff a mechanism to monitor student progress, identify effective strategies and inform policy decisions.
In school year 2010-2011, the Data for School Improvement system was introduced in all traditional public schools (charter schools use different data systems), giving teachers access to a bank of over 15,000 standards-aligned English language arts and mathematics assessment items that can be used in grades 3 through 8 and 10.
As of June 2011, 6,271 teachers had used DSI to create formative assessments. Their feedback indicates the DSI’s item bank and automated administration of formative assessment has been particularly useful.
The DSI will continue to be further developed. Its 15,000 items are currently aligned to the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III – the basis for the current Hawaii State Assessment. A project underway will align these items to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and new assessment items will be added to address the CCSS in kindergarten through the second grade.
At Kahului Elementary School, grade-level data teams have been trained to use real-time results from formative assessments to measure student progress, using the information to determine whether students are meeting academic benchmarks or if certain standards need to be retaught.
At Kahului, data teams use the DSI to design quarterly assessments. Collaboration among grade-level teachers leads to consistency in curriculum pacing.
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New math standards emphasize real world relevance
Common Core State Standards lead writer visits Hawaii
Hawaii's standards rank high in rigor among Race states
Math score rise, reading proficiency holds steady
Reading and writing standards move to a new level
Schools prepare for a new set of standards
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Video: ViewPoints Part 7: Common Core State Standards Implementation
Accountability Resource Center Hawaii (ARCH)
Hawaii Standards Database
Hawaii State Assessment Online Portal
Common Core State Standards Initiative
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium
The Hunt Institute and CCSSO Common Core Implementation Video Series
National PTA releases Parents' Guide to Student Success
New online program helps students SOAR