Virus Outbreak Hawaii Schools

Hand sanitizer is attached to a desk in a classroom at Aikahi Elementary School in Kailua, Hawaii in this file photo.

(The Center Square) - Hawaii students improved their test scores in two of four measures included in the Nation's Report Card released Monday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The report card measures reading and math performance for U.S. fourth and eighth-graders based on tests taken in early 2022. It's the first measure of student performance since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to NAEP. 

Hawaii fourth-graders improved their reading scores by one point and the group's math scores were down just two points, which is not considered statistically significant. Eighth-graders reading scores also improved by one point. Eighth-grade math scores dropped by five points. 

"The fact that our students held steady on three out of the four NAEP assessments, compared to national drops across the board, speaks to the resilience of our students and the dedication of our educators," Superintendent Keith Hayashi said in a news release. "Still, from the NAEP and our own data, we know that our math performance, especially in our middle school grades, continues to lag below our state targets and national levels. As we continue to analyze these and other performance indicators, we are doubling down on our efforts to determine where more support and interventions are needed to improve learning and achievement for all students."

Hawaii schools, like many in the U.S., were closed for months during the pandemic. 

"As measured by our state assessments, students' language arts and mathematics proficiency dropped during the pandemic, then improved last year with the return to in-person learning, despite a record number of students being absent," Deputy Superintendent Tammi Oyadomari-Chun said. 

A majority of states did see declines in student performance. No states improved in eighth-grade math, except for Utah and Department of Defense schools, according to the report. 

"Eighth grade is a pivotal moment in students' mathematics education, as they develop key mathematics skills for further learning and potential careers in mathematics and science," said Daniel J. McGrath, acting associate commissioner for assessment for the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. "If left unaddressed, this could alter the trajectories and life opportunities of a whole cohort of young people, potentially reducing their abilities to pursue rewarding and productive careers in mathematics, science, and technology."

Associate Editor

Kim Jarrett's career spans over 30 years with stops in radio, print and television. She has won awards from both the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.