POSTED: 12:30 a.m. HST, Dec 2, 0001
LAST UPDATED: 1:44 p.m. HST, Nov 7, 2013
Hawaii public school fourth-graders exceeded the national average for math on a national standardized test -- the first time Hawaii has surpassed its national peers in any subject on the National Assessment of Educational Progress since state results began being recorded in the 1990s.
Overall, Hawaii's fourth- and eighth-graders made gains in reading and math on the exam this year, compared to 2011, the last time the test was given. But eighth-grade math and fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores in the islands remained below the national averages.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan touted Hawaii, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., as top performers "who've knocked the ball out of the park."
The results -- released this morning -- come as Hawaii's public school system continues implementing a host of educational reforms aimed at improving student performance, turning around low-performing schools and boosting teacher effectiveness.
Duncan said a lot of people scoffed at the U.S. Education Department's investment in Hawaii through a $75 million Race to the Top grant that proposed sweeping education reforms.
"I think Hawaii, to their tremendous credit, has proved a lot of skeptics wrong,"he said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday.
About 6,300 fourth-graders and 5,500 eighth-graders statewide took the exam during a testing window from January through March. Nationwide, more than 376,000 fourth-graders and 341,000 eighth-graders took the test, also known as the "Nation's Report Card."
Hawaii fourth-graders scored an average 243 points out of a possible 500 in math -- two points higher than the national average. The score for the group was up from 239 points in 2011 and 236 points in 2009.
The NAEP results for Hawaii also showed:
>> Forty-six percent of fourth-graders scored at the "proficient" or "advanced" level in math, and 37 percent tested at the "basic" level. Seventeen percent were at the "below basic" level in math.
>> In reading, fourth-graders edged up slightly with an average score of 215 points, up one point from 2011. The national average for fourth-graders in reading this year was 221 points.
>> Eighth-graders scored an average of 260 points in reading, up three points from 2011. The group trailed the national average of 266 points.
>> In math, eighth-graders had an average score of 281 points, below the national average of 284, but up from 278 in 2011.
Nationally, scores edged up slightly from 2011 in math for fourth- and eighth-graders. Reading scores for eighth-graders improved by three points over 2011, while reading scores for fourth-graders stayed flat.
Duncan said the report "provides encouraging but modest signs of progress," adding that the nation isn't yet seeing transformational changes in education as states adopt more rigorous academic standards.