Approval Granted Allowing Hawaiian Assessments for Immersion Students

February 20, 2015, 2:06 PM HST · Updated February 20, 2:09 PM
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Hawaii flag. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaii flag. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education has secured a one-year waiver, allowing Hawaiian Language Immersion Program students to take a specialized assessment in the 2014-15 school year in lieu of the state’s English language arts and math assessments.

The DOE, in partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, developed a field test for immersion students that measures progress toward mastery of academic standards on par with the Smarter Balanced Assessment given in the English language.

Under the waiver, Kaiapuni students in Grades 3 and 4 who take the Hawaiian language arts and math field test will not have to also take the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

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Opting out the English language assessment in the past created a negative impact on the school’s Strive HI results for accountability and improvement.

“This waiver sets a precedent for our Hawaiian Language education efforts,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi in a department press release. “We’ve been working hard to transform education in Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Education is no exception. It took collective vision, collaboration, and a lot of work to reach this point. I want to thank the many stakeholders who supported the department in shaping a better future for our Hawaiian Immersion students.”

Kalehua Krug, Ph.D., has been working with the DOE and other stakeholders in leading the creation of a Hawaiian Language assessment.  In a joint statement she said, “As parents and Hawaiian Language educators, it is important that our children have every educational opportunity afforded to them, in our Hawaiian language.  This field test brings us one more step closer to ensuring that this happens. We know the USDOE will be closely watching what occurs over the year during the Kaiapuni field assessment. We’re confident that Kaiapuni students are up to the challenge of rigorous assessments in the Hawaiian language.”

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