Majority of Hawaii’s Class of 2013 Did Not Meet ACT’s College-Readiness Benchmarks

The ACT early today released the results of the graduating Class of 2013’s performance on its college-readiness exam. A record 5,345 Hawaii students in both public and private schools took the ACT test in spring 2012, representing a 75 percent increase from the Class of 2010. However, results show a majority of Hawaii’s Class of 2013, similar to the rest of the nation, did not meet the test’s college-readiness benchmarks. The data reinforces the importance of the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) focus on supporting all students for success after high school.

The 5,345 Hawaii students, most of whom took the ACT as juniors in 2012 and graduated this past spring, represent about 40 percent of the Class of 2013 – the biggest group of students ever to take the ACT in Hawaii. Kaiser High graduate Jason Cheng, a Harvard University freshman this fall, was the only Hawaii student to earn a perfect score of 36 among those included in the results released today.

“The good news is the high number of students challenging themselves with the college rigor of the ACT Test,” said DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “We look forward to improving our results as we continue our focus on college and career readiness.”

Acknowledging a need to boost college and career readiness among graduates, the DOE has already taken steps to better prepare students by introducing the following new initiatives in 2013:

· Strive HI Performance System: For the first time, the DOE is holding schools accountable for achievement, growth, achievement gaps, and college and career readiness. As a part of the Strive HI Performance System, the DOE administers the ACT EXPLORE exam to all students in grades 8 and 9, the ACT Plan exam in grade 10, and the ACT Test in grade 11. Based on local research, a composite score of 19 on the ACT exam indicates readiness for entry-level courses in the University of Hawaii System. The eleventh-grade results from the spring 2013 administration, included in the recently released Strive HI results, show that 34 percent of students met a composite score of 19 or higher. ACT scores being reported today are part of the last round of exams taken before the DOE began administering the ACT as part of the Strive HI Performance System.

· Common Core State Standards (CCSS): For the first time this school year, all teachers are implementing the Common Core State Standards. The new standards are a set of consistent, high-quality academic standards that clearly define the knowledge and skills all students should master by the end of each school year in order to be on track for success.
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each exam is graded on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s single composite score is the average of the four test scores. In each of the four subjects, ACT sets a college-readiness benchmark — the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. The benchmarks are set based on national level data. Hawaii graduates who tested as juniors in the spring of 2012 posted a statewide average composite mark of 20.1. The national average composite score was 20.9. In each benchmark area, Hawaii students also posted lower ACT scores than their national peers. The figures below represent the percentage of students who met benchmark scores by subject:

ACT Performance

“The drop in ACT scores for Hawaii students should not be interpreted as a decline in student learning or readiness,” said Jon Erickson, ACT president of education. “The state results were impacted by the change in the composition of test takers included in the report. As a result, this year’s data should be viewed as a new baseline against which future years can be compared.”

For more information about the DOE, log on to HawaiiPublicSchools.org. Additional ACT information is available at act.org/readiness/2013.

Hawaii Department of Education Begins College and Career Readiness Assessments Beginning Next Spring

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today announced it will administer college and career readiness assessments to all middle and high school students statewide in grades 8, 9, 10 and 11 beginning next spring.

DOE

For the first time ever, the DOE will be able to comprehensively collect and examine college and career readiness data in reading, mathematics, science and English.

“By 2018, Hawaii will rank 10th in the nation in jobs requiring postsecondary degrees,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are setting a high bar for achievement and delivering optimal tools and resources to accelerate our students’ trajectory toward college and career readiness. All high school graduates must complete a rigorous course of study and be prepared to successfully pursue their dreams, aspirations and goals.”

Starting in April 2013, more than 50,000 students annually will take the ACT EXPLORE test in grades 8 and 9, the PLAN exam in grade 10, and The ACT assessment in grade 11. The new ACT College and Career Readiness System is benchmarked to both the expectations of higher education institutions and workforce. It is also designed to help students plan for future education opportunities and explore careers based on their skills, interests and ambitions.

“The DOE’s decision to administer the ACT College and Career Readiness System for all students in 8 – 11th grades is evidence of their strong commitment to preparing students for postsecondary success,” said Karen Lee, Executive Director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education. “The data gathered from the assessments will be invaluable as we work together with institutions of higher education to reach the state’s goal of 55 percent of working age adults having a 2- or 4-year college degree in 2025.”

Schools, educators and youth will benefit from ACT programs and services that reduce the need for remediation, align with state standards, and foster student success in postsecondary education. ACT’s unique student-level assessment data may also be used by counselors to improve the effectiveness of student intervention plans.

“A systematic, statewide college and career readiness assessment system has been a critical need for schools to comprehensively measure and support students’ progress,” said Teri Ushijima, complex area superintendent for Aiea, Moanalua and Radford. “The ACT suite of assessments will serve as a key resource for the DOE to fulfill its strategic goal of ensuring all students are on a path toward success in college, career and citizenship.”

The DOE Systems Accountability Office is leading the implementation of the ACT College and Career Readiness System. ACT, Inc. was recently awarded a contract totaling approximately $882,000 for the system’s assessment package, programs, and services for school year 2012-13.

The DOE is aggressively addressing key statewide goals and strategies outlined in the BOE/DOE Strategic Plan. The ACT College and Career Readiness System will generate measurable and baseline data to ensure all students are gaining the academic skills they need to succeed on the K-12 pathway and throughout their lives.

For more information about the ACT test, log on to www.act.org.