Hawaii sees improvement in math scores, maintains gains in language arts, science: Big Island Now

Hawaii’s public schools saw an overall increase in math performance in the second full academic year since the pandemic, according to statewide assessment results released today by the Hawaii State Department of Education as part of the annual Strive HI Performance System report.

In language arts and science, Hawai’i’s scores remained stable, maintaining gains from the previous year. Kīlauea Elementary on Kauaʻi surpassed statewide trends, increasing academic proficiency in all subjects.

While student performance in Hawaii has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, students are doing relatively well compared to students in other states. Compared to 11 other states that reported Smarter Balanced Assessment scores for the 2022-23 school year, Hawaii tied with Idaho for the highest language arts proficiency rate and was one of four states that scored 2 points or more for the year – annual increase in math skills.

Key Annual Results 2022-2023 Aim HI

  • In the whole country academic skills in language arts, math, and science remained stable for language arts and science and increased for math.
    • Proficiency in language arts is 52%.
    • Math skill increased by 2 points to 40%.
    • Science proficiency is maintained at 40%.
  • A third grader?teration (reading near/at or above grade level), drops 2 points to 78%.
  • Ninth grade on time promotions increased by 3 points to 92%.
  • Percentage of 12th graders completion of career and technical education (CTE) program held at 64%.
  • Graduation on time the percentage decreases by 1 point to 85%.
  • College the percentage continues to be 50%.

Student attendance also improved with fewer students chronically absent (15 days or more): up to 30% in SY 2022-23 compared to 37% the previous year. However, as with national trends, student absenteeism continues to be high. Two years ago, statewide chronic absenteeism rates had risen from 18% to 37% as a result of quarantine and isolation requirements during COVID, a statewide bus driver shortage and emergency fuel leak situations from Navy depots of the USA.

In addition to getting students back into the classroom, the Department continues to focus on improving learning outcomes for all students. The Department shares its strategies and progress towards achieving desired outcomes in the Board of Education’s strategic plan. The department has presented five of the 27 desired outcomes to the board so far.

Kilauea Elementary School


From the 2021-22 to 2022-23 school year, language arts scores increased 14 points to 62%, math increased 16 points to 49%, and science increased 35 points to 67%.

Academic achievement has far exceeded pre-pandemic proficiency, placing the school above elementary complex areas and national averages in language arts and science, as well as at grade level in math. The school’s third-grade literacy rate is 97%, up 12 points from the previous year and beating the state average by 19 points.

Principal Fig Mitchell, who was new to the position in the 2022-23 school year, attributed the school’s academic achievements to the staff and community. “Creating a culture of support for staff and students and stability among staff members was a big factor,” Principal Mitchell said. “We’ve also tried to implement a culture of ‘we can do hard things’ in our school and the students have come through.”


The school used ESSER funding to deliver a rigorous new mathematics curriculum in the 2022-23 academic year, which included providing teachers with comprehensive professional development. Professional development in mathematics continues to be a priority for Principal Mitchell this school year. In addition, the school’s response to intervention coach received LETRS training and shared best practices and resources with other staff members. Kīlauea is now looking at applying the science of reading in school and will focus on further improving the quality of reading instruction. The school has started implementing more small group learning and active participation in class to ensure students are engaged and learning cohesively.

The improvement in attendance is also likely to be the main variable contributing to the positive results. For the 2021-22 school year, Kilauea’s chronic absenteeism rates rose to 51 percent from 11 percent the previous year. In the 2022-23 school year, the school strengthened attendance policies and implemented parent-teacher conferences, reducing the chronic absence rate to 35%, a huge improvement in getting students back into the classroom.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *