Six schools meet state’s ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ benchmark, many others in reform stages

Six schools meet state’s ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ benchmark, many others in reform stages

Jade Eckardt

As a result of efforts to raise the bar for the level of the education available at Hawaii’s public schools, six more schools recently attained adequate yearly progress (AYP). It is a metric intended to increase accountability and is measured by whether or not students achieve certain learning benchmarks: specific requirements of what a student should know or be able to do at a specific grade level or course to measure their progress.

Inspired by George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB), the AYP is measured by the Hawaii State Assessment (HSA) test, an exam that measures school improvement and learning by requiring schools to give students yearly state standardized tests that measure student progress in reading and mathematics.

AYP outcomes are based on three indicators: participation rates for reading and mathematics, proficiency rates for reading and mathematics, and a grade level retention rate for elementary and middle/intermediate schools or a graduation rate for high schools. Where applicable, these indicators are applied to “all students” within a school but also to up to eight student subgroups. As a result, AYP “met” and ”not met” results may be reached for reading and mathematics along with the retention or graduation rate. If any areas are “not met” then the school does not meet its overall AYP outcome.

For schools to meet AYP each year, the students must do better on the HSA test than they did the previous year. Before the spring of 2006, a school’s AYP result of met or not met was based on the HSA test given to third and fifth grade students while a middle school’s AYP result was based on the test taken by eighth graders. However, since the spring of 2006 third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and tenth graders all take the HSA exam three times during a school year.

Since the preliminary AYP results were announced in mid July, Hanalei Elementary, Kula Aupuni Niihau PCS, Moanalua High and Waihee Elementary have changed AYP statuses from “not met,” to “met.” An English Language Learner (ELL), student source date file correction resulted in AYP status changes from “not met” to “met” for Kahului Elementary and Kealakehe Elementary. The schools met their AYP in late August, raising the final total to 116 out of 286 schools, or 41 percent.

Says Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, “Hawaii’s educators and students deserve all the credit for once again achieving impressive gains in math, a subject that is the gateway to a seamless transition into colleges and careers, while holding reading scores steady.”

“Hawaii’s educators and students deserve all the credit for once again achieving impressive gains in math, a subject that is the gateway to a seamless transition into colleges and careers, while holding reading scores steady.”


The State Department of Education publishes annual reports sharing school performance at both the state and individual school level. The final NCLB status for school year 2011-12 for 286 schools subject to AYP, finds 142 of Hawaii’s public schools in “good standing” (50 percent), 33 in “school improvement” (12 percent), 12 in “corrective action” (four percent), 13 in “planning for restructuring” (five percent), and 86 in “restructuring” (30 percent).

According to the results, student proficiency scores in reading remained steady after years of gains. Meanwhile, math proficiency has risen five percent annually for two years in a row. Overall, the percentage of students testing proficient in reading rose from 41 percent (2003) and 60 percent (2007) to 66 percent in 2011, down one percent from last year. In math, it rose dramatically from 20 percent in 2003 and 39 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2011.

Preliminary results showed that 38 percent of Hawaii’s 110 public schools met all of their AYP targets, down from 51 percent (145 schools) last year. Fifty-six schools, or approximately 20 percent, missed making AYP by only one or two of the target areas.

Preliminary results showed that 38 percent of Hawaii’s 110 public schools met all of their AYP targets, down from 51 percent (145 schools) last year.


The results have left those in the DOE hopeful for the future of public education in Hawaii.

“Our focus will remain on supporting students and schools as we implement internationally-benchmarked common core standards, use data to gauge learning and adjust instruction in real time, and engage families and communities in our educational mission,” said Matayoshi.

The first online adaptive version of the Hawaii State Assessment test was administered to approximately 95,000 students from October 18, 2010 to May 20, 2011, to allow schools the option of administering the test up to three times to any or all students. The online test replaced the paper-and-pencil reading and math tests, which were last administered to students in April 2010.

According to the DOE website, for the 2011-2012 school year, schools must meet proficiency rates of not less than seventy-two percent of students proficient in reading and not less than sixty-four of students proficient in math. Participation rate requirements for the same school year is not less than ninety-five percent of students participating in the tests for both reading and math.

This school year, Hawaii’s performance targets rose from 58% to 72% in reading and 46% to 64% in mathematics. These targets will continue to rise until 2014, when 100% of students are mandated under NCLB to demonstrate proficiency in reading and math.

Meanwhile, the retention rate requirements for the 2011-2012 school year for elementary schools are not more than two percent of students retained in a grade and for intermediate and middle schools, not more than five percent of students retained in grade. The graduation rate requirement for the 2011-2012 is not less than eighty-five percent of ninth grade students graduating on time, in four years from high school.

The AYP participation rate is based on students at a school who participated in the test compared to the total number of students enrolled at said school. AYP proficiency rates are based on students’ scaled test scores. Students who achieved a scale score of 300 or more are considered proficient in the content area of reading or mathematics while scale scores below 300 are considered non-proficient. Proficiency rates are calculated only for students who have been enrolled at a school for a full academic year.

The current four-year graduation rate is based on tracking intact student cohorts over their high school years. Members in the “same school cohort” are made up of students who entered grade nine in a given school for the first time, and were enrolled in the same school four years later. Members of this group may have successfully completed school and received a diploma or a certificate of completion, or continue to be members of the cohort even after the point at which they “dropped out.” However, students who transfer out of the Hawaii’s DOE system or to another DOE school are removed from the same school cohort.

Students who received a diploma within four years are considered graduates. Non-graduates include special education students receiving certificates of completion and students requiring five or more years to complete high school.  Annually, approximately 5% of students statewide receive certificates of completion, GED diplomas, or continue in school.

HSA 2011 gains by grade are as follows:

Grade 3 – Increased from 62 percent to 65 percent in reading, and 49 percent to 63 percent in math
Grade 4 – Increased from 54 percent to 67 percent in reading, and 48 percent to 61 percent in math
Grade 5 – Increased from 60 percent to 66 percent in reading, and 40 percent to 57 percent in math
Grade 6 – Increased from 56 percent to 67 percent in reading, and 39 percent to 52 percent in math
Grade 7 – Increased from 62 percent to 65 percent in reading, and 37 percent to 52 percent in math
Grade 8 – Increased from 60 percent to 67 percent in reading, and 26 percent to 53 percent in math
Grade 10 – Increased from 65 percent to 66 percent in reading, and 29 percent to 38 percent in math