East Hawaii News

DOE: SBA Scores Show ‘Promise’

September 15, 2015, 1:31 PM HST
* Updated September 16, 7:03 AM
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The Department of Education presented state-wide Smarter Balanced Assessments test scores in mathematics and English language/literacy on Tuesday at the Board of Education’s General Business Meeting.

Test results show that 48 percent of students are meeting or exceeding the achievements standard in ELA and 41 percent of students tested meet or exceed achievement standards in math, and officials say these number are promising.

State of Hawai'i Department of Education chart.

State of Hawai’i Department of Education chart.

“These first year results show promise and will serve as a baseline for future student achievement,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, HIDOE Superintendent. “Test scores show we’re not where we want to be, but we’re on the right track for all students to be college and career-ready. This test was more difficult and the results also tell us that our educators have worked hard to shift their teaching towards higher standards. We hope to build our momentum each year to ensure that our students are prepared for college and community life.”

Hawai’i had a 97 percent participation rate with more than 89,000 students who took the SBA. The tests measure how well students are developing the skills that they need for success in college or within the workplace.

Based on the scores, more than 5,000 of the state’s seniors are hitting college level qualification, based on their eleventh grade scores.


In seven states and at over 200 colleges and universities, students can use their SBA scores to exempt them from placement exams, giving them the ability to enroll directly into entry-level college courses.


“Our agreement to accept 11th grade Smarter Balanced scores for college placement demonstrates the University of Hawai’i system’s recognition and appreciation of Hawai’i Department of Education’s increasing preparedness of their graduates.  UH’s acceptance of Smarter Balanced scores means these tests count for students, and this will help them to be placed in college level courses,” said David Lassner, President of the University of Hawai’i system.  “Together, we are strengthening our state’s educational pipeline and timely completion in support of our Hawai’i Graduation Initiative, and Hawai’i’s making progress towards our goal to have 55 percent of our working age adults hold a college degree by 2025.”

State of Hawai'i Department of Education chart.

State of Hawai’i Department of Education chart.

The achievement standards within the SBA were set by 16 SBA governing states and territories, along with three affiliate states and the Bureau of Indian Education. Input from teachers, parents and education faculty, business, and community members were also used to set threshold scores to measure student performance.

“Whether students was to go to college or straight into the workplace, they need to be able to think critically and solve complex problems,” said HIDOE Deputy Stephen Schatz. “Our vision is that our students graduate from our schools ready to pursue their dreams.”


Hawai’i is one of 22 states who administer the SBA. Ten other states have also released their state score data.

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