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Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Hawaii NAEP: Student Proficiency Drops Sharply
By News Release @ 2:41 AM :: 2584 Views :: Education K-12

Hawaii’s scores on 2015 “Nation’s Report Card” follow national drop

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released its 2015 results Wednesday showing a national decline in scores. Hawaii’s results followed the same pattern. Hawaii maintains above-average scoring over the past ten years, however, in both math and reading.

News Release from Hawaii DoE October 27, 2015

​Honolulu – The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released its 2015 results Wednesday showing a national decline in scores. Hawaii’s results followed the same pattern. Unlike 2013, when Hawaii’s fourth graders scored above the national average in math, scores slipped in both grade 4 and 8 and in both subjects - mathematics and reading. However, NAEP officials note that over the last 10 years, Hawaii made significant gains, as compared 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.”

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is taking a close look at the 2015 results, alongside other student data. The NAEP assessment 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. Now that states across the country have raised their academic standards, the Council of Chief State School Officers are discussing where there may be room to adjust the NAEP assessment to come into better alignment with the recent progress made by states. This includes college and career ready standards adopted by states, including Hawaii, in the last five years.

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.”​

Percent of Students "Proficient" on NAEP, Hawaii results since 2005:

  2015 2013 2011 2009 2007 2005
Math, Gr 4 38.28 46.00 39.68 36.74 33.28 26.68
Math, Gr 8 30.02 32.33 30.01 25.33 21.21 18.24
Reading, Gr 4 29.06 29.77 27.16 25.68 25.69 23.38
Reading, Gr 8 25.69 28.44 25.99 21.96 20.29 18.32

NAEP results are reported in four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced. Though proportion of students who were Proficient decreased from 2013 to 2015, Hawaii’s percentage of students scoring proficient has increased significantly over the last decade. Also, Hawaii’s students’ average score has increased significantly over time.

“Our schools have shifted to teaching students the more rigorous Hawaii 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.”

About 2,300 students each in grades 4 and 8 represented Hawaii in the 2015 NAEP exam, representing 18 percent of our students statewide in the tested grades. The Smarter Balanced Assessments administered last school year tested 97 percent of students statewide in tested grades and provides results for every school and student.

Fore more information about Smarter Balanced, visit:​

NAEP reports are located at


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