HIDOE News Release: Hawaii’s ELL students show progress on Nation’s Report Card

Posted on Oct 29, 2019 in Latest Department News

View the news release online here.

Hawaii’s ELL students show progress on Nation’s Report Card

The results released today by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show double-digit gains for Hawaii’s fourth grade English Language Learners (ELL). State average scaled scores for fourth grade ELL students increased by 26 points for reading and 13 points for mathematics compared to 2017 results, outpacing the nation’s growth (+2 reading; +2 mathematics). Eighth grade ELL students also outperformed their peers nationally with an increase of five points in reading and seven points in mathematics.

“As we continue to review the overall results, we are especially encouraged by the progress shown by our ELL students and having discussions on what strategies have contributed to these encouraging outcomes,” said Assistant Superintendent Heidi Armstrong, Office of Student Support Services. “While we recognize there is more work needed to narrow and ultimately eliminate the achievement gap, there has been an increased awareness around the specialized supports and services our ELL students require to be successful.”

Hawaii’s overall results, compared to 2009 scores, show a steady increase in all categories bucking the national trend of decreases in all categories over ten years.

Grade 4 Hawaii National Public
Reading (average scale score) 218 (+7) 219 (-1)
Mathematics (average scale score) 239 (+3) 240 (+1)


Grade 8 Hawaii National Public
Reading (average scale score) 258 (+3) 262 (no change)
Mathematics (average scale score) 275 (+1) 281 (-1)


Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto weighed in on the long-term results for Hawaii’s students on the Nation’s Report Card, adding, “In recent years, even with the implementation of higher standards and an increase in rigor in the state’s curriculum, our students are showing progress in closing the achievement gap with the nation in such areas as fourth-grade reading. The Department will look for correlations between improvements and core strategies to leverage best practices and continue our positive trajectory.”

In 2018, 2,200 fourth grade students and 2,200 eighth grade students represented Hawaii in the NAEP mathematics exam, along with a different random sampling of 2,200 fourth grade students and 2,200 eighth grade students in the reading exam.

The NAEP assessment was originally designed to provide a common measure of student performance across the country at a time when there was no consistency among state academic standards or common measures to compare states. This includes college and career readiness standards adopted by states, including Hawaii, in the last decade.

NAEP is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, U.S. history, and in Technology and Engineering Literacy. In 2017, NAEP began administering digitally based assessments (DBA) for mathematics, reading and writing. For more information and this year’s NAEP reports, click here.


Lindsay Ku’uipo Chambers

Communications Director

Hawai’i State Department of Education

Office: (808) 586-3232

Mobile: (808) 291-3366
E-mail: [email protected]

» Website: HawaiiPublicSchools.org

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