Special Report


January 04, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Standards and Accountability: Hawaii’s score improved from last year because it now has clear and specific standards in English in all grade spans, and in social studies/history in the middle and high school levels.

A strong accountability system includes well-developed standards in English, mathematics, science, and social studies/history in all grade spans, and tests aligned with those standards.

Hawaii has clear and specific standards in English, math, and science at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. But its standards for social studies/history are clear and specific in middle and high school only, based on ratings by the American Federation of Teachers.

One of the strengths of Hawaii’s testing system is its mix of test items.

Hawaii is one of 19 states that use multiple-choice, short-answer, and extended-response questions in English and other subjects to measure performance throughout a student’s career.

The state reports test results on school report cards and uses the results to rate schools. Hawaii provides help for schools rated low-performing, and those that don’t improve face state-imposed sanctions.

But the state does not provide rewards to high-performing or improving schools.

Efforts to Improve Teacher Quality: Hawaii requires prospective teachers to pass the full spectrum of basic-skills, subject-knowledge, and subject-specific-pedagogy tests to earn licenses.

The state issues only one level of license, however, rather than distinguishing between novices and teachers with additional qualifications and skills through performance assessments, such as classroom observations or portfolios.

Instead of requiring future teachers to complete a set amount of subject-area coursework, the state has moved to a performance-based system. Individual teacher-preparation institutions determine how much coursework their students complete. Hawaii also does not require prospective teachers to complete a minimum amount of student teaching, which brings down its grade.

The state pays for professional development for its teachers, but does not finance and require mentoring for all new teachers.

Hawaii produces separate No Child Left Behind Act accountability reports, in addition to its existing school report cards, both of which include teacher-qualification data.

The state identifies its low-performing teacher-training programs, but does not publish the passing rates of graduates on licensure exams by institution.

School Climate: Below-average data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress background survey hit Hawaii’s grade for school climate hard. Fifty-two percent of 4th graders and 20 percent of 8th graders attend schools whose administrators view lack of parent involvement as a minor problem or not a problem, the poorest showing in the nation for 8th graders on that indicator.

Data from the NAEP survey also point to problems with student absenteeism, tardiness, and classroom misbehavior compared with other states.

Also contributing to the state’s lackluster grade is the low percentage of students who attend small schools, relative to other states.

But the news is not all bad. Hawaii stands out as one of 17 states that survey educators and others about conditions in schools. The state administers a School Quality Survey to parents, students, and teachers and makes the results available to the public, including on school report cards.

Equity: Hawaii is unique in having a single, statewide school district.

As a single district, the state performs well on the indicators of resource equity, which are based on disparities in district-level revenue. Hawaii lacks any district-to-district variations in funding, and thus achieves a perfect equity score by default, according to a district-level analysis.

Spending: Hawaii’s education spending per student received a boost of almost 11 percent between the 2001 and 2002 fiscal years. But the state still ranks 35th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia on this indicator, at $7,326 per pupil in the 2001-02 school year. Hawaii ranks 13th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia on the spending index, which considers how many students are in districts spending below the national per-pupil average, and what it would take to bring spending for those students up to the national average. Hawaii is slightly above the national average in the percentage of total taxable resources spent on education, at 3.9 percent.

In March 2024, Education Week announced the end of the Quality Counts report after 25 years of serving as a comprehensive K-12 education scorecard. In response to new challenges and a shifting landscape, we are refocusing our efforts on research and analysis to better serve the K-12 community. For more information, please go here for the full context or learn more about the EdWeek Research Center.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read