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DOE Receives Grant Funding for Culturally Accurate Assessments

March 23, 2016, 12:34 PM HST (Updated March 23, 2016, 12:34 PM)
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school students pixabayThe Hawai’i State Department of Education’s Office of Hawaiian Education will receive a portion of $2 million in grants to fund the broadening of student assessments to include broader definitions of success and making them more culturally relevant.

On Wednesday, the Assessment for Learning Project announced the Hawaiian Education office as one of 12 recipients of the funding from ALP and its partners.

The DOE’s winning proposal, “Culturally Responsive Assessment of HA Outcomes,” aims to create an assessment that would support a broader and more culturally accurate definition of student success in the state.

“This grant is crucial in helping the Department with its efforts to implement Nā Hopena A’o (HĀ), a board policy which was adopted in 2015,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We have developed a strong framework and through this grant, will work towards creating an assessment that can accurately measure a student’s experience and understanding of these competencies.”

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The Board of Education adopted six learning outcomes based on Hawaiian culture and values in 2015. Those learning outcomes are known as Policy E-3: Na Hopena A’o (HA).

Goals within the policy are to develop a set of skills and behaviors that reflect the values of the indigenous language and culture of Hawai’i.

The framework reflects HIDOE’s core values and beliefs in action, and includes the following competencies: Belonging, Responsibility, Excellence, Aloha, Total Well-Being and Hawai’i (BREATH).

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“Culture is an important factor in many aspects of education, including assessments,” said D. Kau’ilani Sang, director, Office of Hawaiian Education. “Hawai’i is unique in so many ways from our language to our culture, it is only fair that we create an evaluation that takes this into consideration and accurately measures our students’ abilities.”

The initial pilot programs are being conducted as schools have identified that they are ready. Additional schools will be added as the program progresses.

Last fall, ALP issued a “request for learning,” inviting educators to submit proposals that rethink assessments and how they are being adapted to accommodate new forms of personalized learning.

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