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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.

DOE Announces New Evaluation and Support System for School Principals

All Hawaii public school principals will receive enhanced supports and evaluations beginning in the 2013-14 school year under an agreement between the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) on a new Comprehensive Evaluation System for School Administrators (CESSA).
DOE Release

CESSA implementation began with 81 schools in August 2012 as principals and their supervisors, the Complex Area Superintendents (CASs), jointly set goals for the year. As we worked through the implementation, and as part of our shared commitment to continuously improve and to provide supports aligned with the CESSA, it made sense to expand the implementation to all schools. Additionally, feedback from school principals was also taken into account.

Implementation will continue in all schools this school year with training for all principals and CASs. Feedback from the first year of implementation will be used to refine the system in 2014-2015.

“Effective school leadership is critical to student achievement,” said DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “The Department is committed to ensuring principals, teachers and schools have the support they need to reach their goals.”

Each principal will receive a rating based half on Student Outcomes (Domain 1) and half on Principal Leadership Practice (Domains 2-6). The five different leadership and performance domains include:

· Professional growth and learning
· School planning and progress
· School culture
· Professional qualities and instructional leadership
· Stakeholder support and engagement
CESSA is tied to a system of support based on short- and long-range goals for principals’ professional improvement efforts.

“This was truly a collaborative effort by HGEA and DOE teams with a goal towards raising the bar in school leadership,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

This agreement between HGEA and DOE aligns with the Hawaii State Board of Education policy 2055 on teacher and principal performance evaluation. The DOE is currently in the second year of a seven-year strategic plan that calls for preparing graduates for college or careers. Effective school leadership is fundamental to the success of this strategic plan. The DOE and HGEA will continue to work together to provide school principals with guidelines, training and support in advance of successful implementation next school year.

For more information, please visit http://hawaiidoe.org.