East Hawaii News

Hawaiian Immersion Students to Forgo Smarter Balance for Specialized Exam

April 29, 2016, 10:21 AM HST
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Students at Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School. Courtesy file photo.

Students at Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School. Courtesy file photo.

A specialized assessment will be issued to Hawaiian immersion students by the Hawai’i State Department of Education.

This is the second consecutive year of the specialized tests.

Hawai’i’s DOE requested an extended waiver from the DOE at the federal level that would allow Hawaiian Language Immersion Program students to take a specialized assessment in lieu of the state’s English language arts and math assessments.

“The continued opportunity for our Hawaiian Immersion students to be tested in their language of instruction has been a highlight for the Department, and we appreciate the USDOE’s recognition of our progress in this initiative,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The work continues as we are piloting an innovative Hawaiian Language State Assessment in science and look forward to federal approval next year.”

The double testing waiver response by the USDOE advised that HIDOE’s Ka Papahana Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Language Immersion) schools lacks the data required for a specialized science assessment to provide student results during this pilot year of testing.


Two years ago, HIDOE, in partnership with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, developed a field test for HLIP students that measures progress toward mastery of academic standards given in the English language Smarter Balanced Assessments.


In Spring 2015, a field test in language arts and math for third and fourth graders enrolled in Ka Papahana Kaiapuni schools was used. This year, the pilot becomes operational and assessment scores will be recorded in the Kaiapuni students’ records.

Students taking the assessment will not have to take the Smarter Balanced assessment administered to students in grades 3-8 and 11.

The Office of Hawaiian Education was established under the Office of the Superintendent last year. It was a result of a policy audit of Hawaiʻi State Board of Education policies 105.7 (2104) and 105.8 (2105), pertaining to Hawaiian Education and Hawaiian Language Immersion programs.


OHE is currently implementing a new policy, known as Nā Hopena Aʻo, which provides for the expansion of Hawaiian education across Hawaiʻi’s K-12 public education system for all students and adults.

Together, this work helps HIDOE meet its obligations to both BOE policies and the Hawaiʻi State Constitution (Article X, Section 4 and Article XV, Section 4).

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