In its second year of administering a new, more rigorous testing standard, Hawaiʻi’s students continue to move in the right direction in meeting higher expectations for college and career readiness. The Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE) released statewide Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) test scores in English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) and mathematics. First administered in spring 2015, the test is aligned to Hawaiʻi Common Core standards and replaced the Hawaiʻi State Assessments in math and reading.

“The second year of results show incremental improvements and our second year of data provides a solid foundation for comparisons moving forward,” said HIDOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. ”Our schools are invested in the higher standards of this test and we hope to build on our momentum each year to ensure that our students are prepared for college, careers and community life after high school.”

SBA tests measure how well students are developing the skills needed for success in college or the workplace. On the basis of their 11th grade scores, 5,756 of this year’s public high school seniors already qualify for college-level classes. At 256 colleges and universities in 10 states, including the University of Hawaiʻi System, students can use their SBA scores to be exempted from placement exams and to enroll directly into entry-level college courses, eliminating the need for remediation. These 256 colleges and universities represent 78 percent of the higher education institutions where members of the graduating class of 2015 enrolled.

“The University of Hawaiʻi system is pleased that SBA scores are trending upward as it reflects the increased preparedness of our high school graduates for college,” said UH President David Lassner. “UH’s continued acceptance of Smarter Balanced scores for placement means that more high school graduates will have a quicker entry into college level courses, which we know improves the pace and number of college graduates. Working together with the Department of Education, we are continuing to strengthen Hawaiʻi’s educational pipeline.”

Continuing upward trend

The results show that 51 percent of students tested met or exceeded the achievement standard in ELA, up three percentage points from the previous year. In math, 42 percent of students tested met or exceeded achievement standards, up one percentage point from the previous year.View the bar graph of student achievement in English Language Arts/Literacy

The scores reflect the percentage of students who meet or exceed achievement standards. More than 90,000 students took the SBA, and Hawaiʻi had a 98 percent participation rate, up one percentage point from the previous year.

—Excerpted from the Hawaiʻi Department of Education news release.