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Public school test scores still below pre-pandemic levels

Results from assessment tests for Hawaii’s public school students showed some improvement in closing the learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but still have work to do.

The Hawaii Department of Education today released the annual Strive HI School Performance Reports for the 2022-2023 academic year, offering insight into the impacts of the pandemic on education.

Student attendance is still a major issue, with about 30% of students having been chronically absent, or absent 15 days or more during the 2022-2023 school year. This, however, was a drop from the 2021-22 school year, when 37% of students were chronically absent.

Pre-pandemic, about 15% of students were chronically absent statewide.

School officials noted a shift in patterns since the pandemic began, with elementary school students rather than upper grades now having the highest levels of chronic absenteeism.

Test scores in the second full academic year following the pandemic held steady for language arts and science, maintaining gains made in the last school year, while improving for math.

However, they show that Hawaii’s student performance has not yet reached the same proficiency as pre-pandemic levels.

For school year 2022-23, test scores showed the following:

>> Language arts: Remained steady, with 52% of students demonstrating proficiency on state standards. Tests are administered to students in grades 3 to 8 and 11.

>> Mathematics: An improvement of 2 points from the previous school year, with 40% of students demonstrating proficiency on state standards. Tests are administered to students in grades 3 to 8 and 11.

>> Science: Remained steady, with 40% of students demonstrating proficiency on the state’s Next Generation Science Standards. The science assessment tests are administered to students in grades 5 to 8 and to high school biology students.

The Strive HI School Performance Reports include results from all public schools, including public charter schools, in Hawaii.

In addition to standardized test scores, the reports look at attendance, graduation and college-going rates, as well as how well schools are reducing the achievement gap between high-needs students and their peers.

These reports do not yet reflect revised key performance indicators approved by the Board of Education in its strategic plan, according to officials. Those changes will be reflected in next year’s report.

Test results for the state as well as individual schools can be viewed at bit.ly/StriveHISystem.

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