DOE says test scores show need to improve

Math results from DOE tests lower than national average

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Jim Mendoza

More than 89,000 public schools students in grades three through eight and grade eleven took the Smarter Balanced tests for Math and English Language/ Arts. Math results are dismal.

"We do have a strength in eleventh grade language arts and literacy but need to do some work on mathematics," said Tammi Chun, Department of Education assistant superintendent.

Only one-third of eleventh graders tested met or exceeded national standards. The percentage of sixth through eighth graders who reached the standard was less than 40 percent.

DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi grades the results a C-minus.

"Everybody wants to see instant success. And the one thing about education is it takes a lot of years," she said.

This was the first year Hawaii public school students were given the new assessment tests.

"We have really high expectations for our students.  We expect all of our students to be college and career ready. And sometimes that means exposing when we're not getting the numbers that we need," deputy superintendent Stephen Schatz said.

Overall, 48 percent of students met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts. Just 41 percent did in Math. The Education Institute's Roberta Mayor said that's nothing to be proud of.

"After spending a great deal of resources on assisting low performing schools to do better, I am disappointed that our scores are so poor," she said.

HSTA president Corey Rosenlee calls the Smarter Balanced standard an artificial number.  He believes the low scores will hurt not help students because more emphasis will be placed on teaching the test subjects to improve future results.

"The pressure to get these higher scores oftentimes means that we ignore the whole child," he said.  "We don't look at Music and Art. Even Social

Studies and Science are ignored just in this pressure to raise scores."

Matayoshi said the results emphasize the need to work harder.

"Blame doesn't help us improve. What we want to say is, 'What are the people doing who are getting good results?  And how can we find out what works?'" she said.

Just 11 of 22 states have reported their Smarter Balanced test results. Hawaii is in the top third in Math and middle of the pack in English.

Parents will receive their child's scores in the coming months.

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