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HDOE Receives Testing Waiver for Immersion Program

Posted February 20, 2015, 09:04 AM HST
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The Hawai’i State Department of Education announced Thursday that it secured a one-year waiver from the United States Department of Education to allow students participating in the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program to take a specialized assessment. The assessment will be taken during the 2014-2015 school year instead of the state’s English language arts and math assessments.

“This waiver sets a precedent for our Hawaiian Language education efforts,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’ve been working hard to transform education in Hawai’i and Hawaiian Education is no exception. It took collective vision, collaboration, and a lot of work to reach this point. I want to thank the many stakeholders who supported the department in shaping a better future for our Hawaiian Immersion students.”

Together with the University of Hawai’i-Manoa, the DOE developed a field test for HLIP students that will measure progress toward mastery of academic standards on par with the Smarter Balanced Assessment given in the English language.

Students in third and fourth grade who are enrolled in Ka Papahana Kaiapuni (Hawaiian language immersion) schools will be able to take the language arts and math field test this spring.

In a January letter to the USDOE, Superintendent Matayoshi requested a “double testing” waiver that would allow students taking the field tests to bypass taking the statewide assessment, Smarter Balanced, taken by students in fourth through eighth grade and 11th grade.

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Earlier this month, the USDOE responded, granting the waiver to the DOE.

The Hawaiian Language assessment has been worked on by Kalehua Krug, Ph.D., chair of ‘Aha Kauleo, the statewide Hawaiian Immersion advisory council and a faculty member of the College of Education at UHM, along with DOE and other stakeholders.

“As parents and Hawaiian Language educators, it is important that our children have every educational opportunity afforded to them, in our Hawaiian language,” stated Krug. “This field test brings us one more step closer to ensuring that this happens. We know the USDOE will be closely watching what occurs over the year during the Kaiapuni field assessment. We’re confident that Kaiapuni students are up to the challenge of rigorous assessments in the Hawaiian language.”

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