How Does the Hawaii High School Assessment Measure Up?

Monday, August 7, 2006Printer-friendly version

At the request of the Hawaii Department of Education, Achieve conducted a study of Hawaii’s 2005 grade 10 State Assessment in reading and mathematics. The study compared the content, rigor and passing (meets proficiency) scores on Hawaii’s assessment with those of the six states that participated in Achieve’s earlier study, Do Graduation Tests Measure Up? Achieve found that Hawaii’s reading test places a premium on comprehension of informational text and therefore is more in line with expectations of postsecondary faculty and employers than the tests from the other states in Achieve’s study. Overall, however, Hawaii’s reading test proved to be less rigorous than most of the other states’ graduation exams because the reading passages were of relatively low cognitive complexity and too few test questions required students to analyze text to the depth necessary for success in college and today’s workplace. Hawaii’s cut score for passing its reading test is comparable to the average of the cut scores from other states in Achieve’s study. Hawaii’s mathematics test contains more rigorous content than the tests in most of the six states analyzed, but its cut score for passing sets a standard roughly comparable to the other states in Achieve’s study.