- Hawaii has had alignment between its standards and assessments for several years as an early adopter of the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments. This consistency has allowed the state to collect accurate and robust data that it can use to make decisions.
- The Hawaiian-language assessment is promising; however, students to whom it applies need to be fully incorporated into the accountability system.
- For small schools not meeting the minimum group size requirements, Hawaii proposes the use of multi-year pooling for up to three years to represent students’ results at the school.
- The state’s accountability system places significant weight on academic achievement and growth, incentivizing schools to pay attention to both equally in elementary and middle schools.
- For schools identified in need of support and improvement, Hawaii articulates a plan for multi-tiered support that has the potential to drive improvement. This system involves all state and local actors and details how they should be involved depending on the level of need.
- Hawaii should clarify alignment between multiple visions and goals for public education. The multiple systems in the state, including the Blueprint for Education, Strive HI, several strategic plans, and ESSA accountability reporting, could cause confusion among stakeholders.
- Hawaii has set an aggressive goal of reducing non-proficient rates by 50 percent; however, the ESSA accountability model does not clearly align with or incentivize this goal. Moreover, Hawaii meets the minimum bar to create strong systems that ensure subgroups of students get the attention needed to improve, but does not articulate how it will meet the particular needs of struggling students in the state.
- The state has a relative system for ranking schools to be identified for school support. The same is true for how these schools exit the state’s school support identification system. These systems make it nearly impossible to tell if a school has actually improved or if it’s simply doing better than other struggling schools. Hawaii should consider objective measures to hold schools accountable and strengthen exit criteria or include more detail.
- Finally, many areas in Hawaii’s plan are still under development. Given that schools will be identified for improvement starting in 2017-18, Hawaii should strive to clarify these areas for schools and the public prior to identification.