East Hawaii News

Hawai’i NAEP Scores Show Decline Since 2013

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Hawai’i followed the national decline on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, whose results were recently released.

The results showed a national decline in scores, including a decline in Hawai’i’s scores.

In 2013, Hawai’i’s fourth graders scored above the national average in math. Now, scores in the subject, along with reading, have slipped for not only fourth graders, but also eight grade students.

Despite the current decline, NAEP officials say that Hawai’i has made significant gains in the past decade, in comparison to other states.


“We were disappointed that this wasn’t a repeat year of our state’s 2013 positive NAEP results. However, our students’ gains over the last ten years continue to be some of the highest in the nation, reflecting the hard work and accomplishments of our educators and students,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “NAEP is one of the many measures we look at to assess progress. This single test score provides important information, but does not tell the whole story about our state’s education progress.”

NAEP officials say it is too soon to draw any conclusions about the results.

“We don’t yet know if this is a trend downward,” stated Peggy Carr, Acting Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.  “We need to exercise caution until we see the results from the 2017 assessment.”


Results from the NAEP are reported in four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced. In Hawai’i, the percentage of students who were Proficient has decreased from 2013 to 2015, but the state’s Proficient score has increased a considerable amount over the past 10 years.

“Our schools have shifted to teaching students the more rigorous Hawai’i Common Core Standards, which are measured by the Smarter Balanced Assessments,” said Assistant Superintendent Tammi Chun, Office of Strategy, Innovation, and Performance. “Compared with NAEP, Smarter Balanced more directly measures what we expect our students to know and be able to do, measures knowledge and the application of student learning, and is more comprehensive in covering English Language Arts and Literacy, not just reading. The 2015 results of Smarter Balanced were promising, particularly compared with other states.”

The NAEP 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. However, now that states across the country have raised their academic standards, the Council of Chief State School Officers are discussion about whether or not there may be room to adjust the NAEP assessment to align better with recent progress made by states, including college and career ready standards.


In Hawai’i, about 2,300 students from the fourth and eighth grades represented the state in the 2015 NAEP exam. The exam takers made up 18 percent of Hawai’i’s student population. The Smarter Balanced Assessments administered included 97 percent of students across the state in tested grades.

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