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Friday, March 25, 2016
‘Culturally Accurate’ Testing: DoE Latest Scheme to Move Goalposts
By News Release @ 5:13 PM :: 3774 Views :: Education K-12

HIDOE awarded grant to launch pilot of culturally accurate student assessments

News Release from Hawaii DoE, 23-Mar-2016

The Office of Hawaiian Education is one of 12 recipients to receive a portion of $2 million in grants from the Assessment for Learning Project (ALP) and its partners. The winning proposal looks at designing an assessment that can support a broader and culturally accurate definition of student success in Hawaii.  (Translation: Rewriting the tests so our failure is hidden.)

The Assessment for Learning Project (ALP) announced today that the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) Office of Hawaiian Education was selected as one of 12 recipients to receive a portion of $2 million in grants from the organization and its partners. The winning proposal, titled “Culturally Responsive Assessment of HĀ Outcomes,” looks at designing an assessment that can support a broader and culturally accurate definition of student success in Hawaii.

​“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.” 

​In 2015, the Board of Education adopted a set of six learning outcomes based on Hawaiian culture and values known as Policy E-3: Nā Hopena A’o (HĀ). The goal of this policy is to develop a set of skills and behaviors that reflect the values of the indigenous language and culture of Hawaii. The framework reflects HIDOE’s core values and beliefs in action, and includes the following competencies: Belonging, Responsibility, Excellence, Aloha, Total-well-being and Hawaii (BREATH). 

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

Some of the schools being tapped for the initial pilot based on their self identif​ied readiness are Castle High School, Ho’ola Leadership Academy, Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ānuenue and Maui District Kaiapuni schools. HIDOE plans on adding additional schools as the pilot progresses. 

ALP issued a “request for learning” last fall inviting educators to submit proposals that rethink assessments and how they are being adapted to accommodate new forms of personalized learning. The other grant awardees include Henry County School District in Georgia, the Center for Collaborative Education, Del Lago Academy - Campus of Applied Science, Fairfax County Public Schools, Summit Public Schools, The Colorado Education Initiative, Two Rivers Public Charter School, WestEd, Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium, Learning Policy Institute, New Hampshire Department of Education.

To learn more about Policy E-3: Nā Hopena A’o (HĀ), click here. To learn more about ALP, visit


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