4 of 5 justices won't pick trustees

The Hawaii Supreme Court decides
to remove justices from the
Bishop Estate trustee
selection process

Star-Bulletin staff
Sunday, December 21, 1997

IN a surprise decision released yesterday, the justices of the Hawaii Supreme Court announced that they will no longer participate in the selection of Bishop Estate trustees. Justice Robert G. Klein was the sole dissenting member.

The court said that continuing the practice "could cause conflicts between private and official acts of the justices," and that "to continue involvement would promote distrust and cynicism," and "undermine public trust in the judiciary."

More details will be available tomorrow on Starbulletin.com

Report charts progress
at Kamehameha Schools

SAT scores and the number of
students college bound are up

By Debra Barayuga
Friday, December 19, 1997

Scholastic Assessment Test scores for graduating seniors at Kamehameha Schools have improved over the past few years in verbal and math categories, according to the 1996 Kamehameha Secondary School Portfolio.

And more graduates are going on to four-year programs, rather than two-year business or technical schools, says the report, which gives a comprehensive picture of curriculum, assessment and student test scores for grades 9 to 12.

"To be at the national norm on a college-bound test is very good," said Kathleen Kukea, coordinator of curriculum for Kamehameha's secondary schools. "We're basically getting kids comparable to college-bound kids in the nation."

With 2,600 students, nearly 200 faculty members and three campuses, the Kamehameha Secondary School is the second-largest independent school in the nation. It also is a primary beneficiary of the Bishop Estate, whose holdings are estimated at $10 billion.

The 2-1/2-hour, multiple-choice SAT is the leading college admissions test; some 90 percent of Kamehameha seniors have taken it over the past 15 years.

SAT verbal scores for Kamehameha students fluctuated yearly from 1981 to 1996, but have been improving at a rate higher than the Hawaii average, and since 1988 were at or higher than the national average, the report said.

Kamehameha college prospects

Changes in curriculum since the mid-1980s contributed to the increase in verbal scores, including a more cohesive writing program and more opportunities to improve vocabulary and reading skills, Kukea said.

Every teacher, regardless of subject area, works on language skills -- and it has improved reading performance, she said.

The Kamehameha average on verbal tests improved from an estimated 470 in 1981 to 516 last year. Over that same period, improvement on math was even higher: Average scores increased from an estimated 489 to 552 -- well above the national average, the report found.

In releasing her own controversial and critical assessment of the schools' performance recently, Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey said although SAT scores have risen in past years, scores for 52 percent of 1997 graduates were still not high enough to get them into the University of Hawaii.

That statement is true for a lot of students, not just Kamehameha Schools graduates, said Dr. David Robb, UH director of admissions and records.

The College Board probably would not have shared Lindsey's view that test scores are the ultimate measure of what's happening at Kamehameha Schools, Robb said.

"It betrays a lack of understanding about the test," he said.

The board is a national nonprofit group that maintains academic standards and broadens access to higher education.

The University of Hawaii uses SAT scores in combination with other criteria.

Besides scores of 510 in both verbal and math, students must maintain a grade point average of 2.8, have taken a total of 22 college preparatory courses, and be in the top 40 percent of his or her graduating class. The university admits only 65 percent of those who apply.

Grading systems vary among schools, so SAT scores help validate the student's GPA and help define student ability, Robb said.

Among private schools in Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools is the largest supplier of students and has been for the past few years, Robb said.

"We're very happy about that because we're trying to include a proportion of Hawaiian students in the student body," he said.

Admissions requirements at UH are similar to those of other research institutions such as the universities of Arizona, California-Berkeley, Oregon, Michigan and Illinois. "We're not as difficult as UC-Berkeley and not as open as Iowa. We're sort of in the middle ground," Robb said.

The trustees are proud that about 90 percent of Kamehameha graduates continue past high school, Lindsey had said, but not all enroll in four-year colleges.

Since 1981, the percentage of Kamehameha graduates attending four-year programs has increased 20 percent to about 74 percent for the class of 1996, according to the report. Seventeen percent attended two-year programs, with the remainder entering the work force, military service or other activity.

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