LIHUE — Hawaii fourth-graders are beating the rest of nation at math and reading gains, according to standardized testing results on the Nation’s Report Card.
Results released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress show Hawaii fourth-grade English language learners increased scores for reading by 26 points compared to 2017 results, and increased math 13 points.
Eighth-grade ELL students (those whose first languages are other than English) also outpaced their peers nationally with an increase of five points in reading and seven points in mathematics.
Compared to the national public, Hawaii’s grade four and grade eight reading and math scores increased compared to 2017 results, while the rest of the nation lost numbers or stayed even.
For reading, Hawaii’s average scale score was 218, up seven points. The national public score was 219, down one point. Hawaii eighth-graders increased their reading score by three, to 258. The national public score for eighth-graders stayed even at 262.
In math, Hawaii fourth-graders’ average scale score was 239, up three points, compared to the national public’s unchanging score of 262. Eighth-grade average scale scores for math increased by one point to 275 while the national public score decreased by one point to 281.
Spokespeople with the state Department of Education said said a breakdown of statistics by county aren’t available, nor are Kauai-specific results.
HDOE said overall results, compared to 2009 scores, show a steady increase in all categories, bucking the national trend of decreases in all categories over 10 years.
“As we continue to review the overall results, we are especially encouraged by the progress shown by our ELL students and having discussions on what strategies have contributed to these encouraging outcomes,” said HDOE Assistant Superintendent Heidi Armstrong in the Office of Student Support Services.
“While we recognize there is more work needed to narrow and ultimately eliminate the achievement gap, there has been an increased awareness around the specialized supports and services our ELL students require to be successful,” she said.
In 2018, some 2,200 fourth-grade students and 2,200 eighth-grade students represented Hawaii in the NAEP mathematics exam, along with a different random sampling of 2,200 fourth-grade students and 2,200 eighth-grade students in the reading exam.
The NAEP assessment was originally designed to provide a common measure of student performance across the country at a time when there was no consistency among state academic standards or common measures to compare states. This includes college- and career-readiness standards adopted by states, including Hawaii, in the last decade.
HDOE Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said now the plan is to identify the factors that led to the score increase — things like higher standards and an increase in rigor in the state’s curriculum — and to continue the progress.