Hawaii holds the line in English, math testing


While national average test scores for English and math continued to decline following the COVID-19 pandemic, the scores of Hawaii’s fourth- and eighth-graders remained steady.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results released Monday, Hawaii’s fourth-graders performed above the national averages in reading and math. Hawaii’s eighth-graders performed at the same level as the national average in reading for the first time, while slightly below the national average for math.


Known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” the NAEP is an assessment administered every two years that tests roughly 8,000 Hawaii public school students enrolled throughout 140 schools statewide.

This year’s NAEP results were the first since 2019.

“The fact that our students held steady on three out of the four NAEP assessments, compared to national drops across the board, speaks to the resilience of our students and the dedication of our educators,” said Superintendent Keith Hayashi in a press release. “Still, from the NAEP and our own data, we know that our math performance — especially in our middle school grades — continues to lag below our state targets and national levels.

“As we continue to analyze these and other performance indicators, we are doubling down on our efforts to determine where more support and interventions are needed to improve learning and achievement for all students.”

At the fourth-grade level, Hawaii’s average score in reading increased by 1 point from 2019, which is 3 points higher than the national average for 2022.

For math, the fourth-grade scores decreased by 2 points, which was 2 points higher than the national average.

At the eighth-grade level, Hawaii’s reading score increased by 1 point from 2019, matching the national average.

Math for the eighth-grade students continues to be the most challenging area, with the state score decreasing by 5 points from 2019, which was 3 points below the national average in 2022.

“Students’ language arts and mathematics proficiency dropped during the pandemic, then improved last year with the return to in-person learning, despite a record number of students being absent,” said Deputy Superintendent Tammi Oyadomari-Chun in press release.

“The NAEP and Smarter Balanced Assessment results indicate that our students, for the most part, are performing at the same level as or above their national peers, and that the nationwide pandemic impacts have been more severe in many other states.”

The results match the recent Strive HI data released by the DOE on Oct. 12, which showed statewide language arts proficiency increased by 2 percentage points to 52%, math proficiency increased by 6 points to 38%, and science proficiency increased by 5 points to 40%.

“By prioritizing a return to in-person learning last school year, schools were able to implement data-driven strategies to support and accelerate student learning,” Hayashi said in the release. “Still, last school year was far from a normal year. The encouraging growth we are seeing is a testament to our educators who are counteracting the effects of the pandemic.”

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