Hawaii's public students improve scores in math


POSTED: Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hawaii public school students in fourth and eighth grades improved their test scores in mathematics this year, reflecting a general rise nationally since 1990.

But students trailed the national average—fourth-graders recorded a 236-point average, compared to the national average of 239 points, and eighth-graders averaged 274 versus the nation's average of 282, according to a 2009 report card issued yesterday by the National Assessment of Education Progress.

A bright spot was the performance of Hawaii fourth-grade girls, who were just two points below the national average of 238, statistically close enough to be considered meeting the average for the first time, said Robert Hillier, Hawaii's NAEP coordinator.

Hawaii's eighth-graders raised scores to 274 in 2009 from 269 in 2007. Hawaii was one of 15 states that showed improvement.

“;After eight years of standards-based instruction, we are seeing the positive outcomes in our grade-eight math scores and expect the upward trend to continue with our grade-four students,”; said schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto. “;Overall, I am pleased and encouraged by the NAEP math results, knowing that we still have much work ahead to ensure that all of our students are mastering grade-level knowledge and skills.”;

Nationally since 1990, Asian/Pacific islander students have increased their mathematics scores by 30 points for fourth-graders and 26 points for eighth-graders—the largest improvement of any ethnic group in the assessment.





        Average math scores for fourth- and eighth-grade public school students in Hawaii, compared with the national average and where Hawaii ranks among the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools.




YearHawaiiNation Ranking
2003227234 40th tied with 8
2005230237 41st tied with 7
2007234239 38th tied with 7
2009236239 32nd tied with 12


YearHawaiiNation Ranking
2003266276 43rd tied with 6
2005266278 47th tied with 3
2007269280 45th tied with 5
2009274282 40th tied with 5





        Source: National Assessment of Education Progress



The state with the highest average mathematics scores for eighth-graders was Massachusetts with 299, followed by Minnesota with 294, and New Jersey, North Dakota and Vermont with 293.

New Hampshire with a score of 251 led in tests taken by fourth-graders, followed by Minnesota with 249 and New Jersey with 247.

Hawaii's fourth-graders' average score of 236 was significantly higher than students in eight states or jurisdictions—Alabama, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.

Eighth-graders had test scores higher than students in six states or jurisdictions—Alabama, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Eighth-grade female students had an average score higher than male students, 276 to 271, while male and female fourth-graders had statistically the same average score.

Some 37 percent of the fourth-graders performed at or above the proficiency level in mathematics, up from 33 percent in 2007 and 15 percent in 1992.

About 25 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above the proficiency level in mathematics, up from 21 percent in 2007 and 12 percent in 1990.

Hispanic students in the fourth grade in the state had an average score that was 17 points lower than white students, not much change since 1992, when it was 16 points. But by eighth grade, the Hispanic student scores closed the gap, coming within six points of white students—not regarded as significantly different.

Of the 180,728 students enrolled in 287 island public schools, Asian/Pacific islanders constitute 73 percent; white, 19.6 percent; Hispanic, 4.5 percent; black, 2.4 percent; and American Indian/Alaskan native, 0.6 percent.

The test, administered to 2,800 fourth-grade students and 2,900 eighth-grade students, covered five mathematical areas, including measurements, geometry, data analysis, statistics, probability and algebra. Students took the test between January through March.

The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Educational Statistics administers the work by the National Assessment of Education Progress.