Hawaii public school students need more preparation
A national study has given Hawaii's public schools low ratings for student achievement.
PUBLIC schools in Hawaii are ranked a woeful 47th among states in student achievement levels, affirming previous assessments. The rating should provide more impetus for school officials to increase efforts to prepare students for education or training beyond high school.
A report by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center in Maryland, published in Education Week, shows Hawaii's achievement levels by fourth and eighth graders to be significantly lower than national averages. The ratings are based on proficiency figures in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Hawaii's fourth-grade students showed proficiencies of 26.7 percent in mathematics and 23.4 percent in reading, compared with national averages of 35.3 percent and 29.8 percent respectively. By the eighth grade, Hawaii's percentages have tumbled to little more than 18 percent, more than 10 percent below national averages. Instead of gaining literacy and math proficiency during those four years, Hawaii's students have fallen further behind.
"Where a person lives matters," authors of the report observe. "A child born in Virginia (the top-ranked state) has a better chance for success at every stage, while a child from New Mexico (the bottom-ranked state) is likely to face a series of hurdles throughout life."
In all areas covered by what the center calls the "Chance for Success" index, Hawaii ranks 25th in the nation. Those areas range from preschool and kindergarten enrollment to family income and parents' education and employment. Overall, Hawaii finished with a single "plus" point.
The study reports that only 63.7 percent of Hawaii public school students graduate from high school on time, nearly 6 percent below the national average. Hawaii and other states dispute the study's method of using enrollment and diploma information from a federal database and claim graduation rates of 80 percent or higher, based on tracking students over time. The nationwide dispute lessens that category's significance.
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