Of the two states outside of the continental US, Hawaii was the only one to fully adopt the Common Core standards back on June 18, 2010 following the standards’ proposal. They took this a step further by then promising total implementation by the 2013-2014 school year, as opposed to the 2014-2015 school year promised by so many other states. While there has been some backlash, the most recently released scores are showing promise.
Religion versus Education
Like private schools, Catholic schools are not required to accept the standards at all. That being said, many did adopt them outright when they became available. This then led to Catholic educators slowly realizing that what the Common Core requires educationally doesn’t entirely sync up with Catholic beliefs, an issue that has created yet another schism within the religious community over the importance of their students’ educations. The debate is expected to continue for some time across these religious schools while each one decides how to deal with the Core on its own.
First Round Scores
As of this year, standardized testing related to all things Core was finally issued and grades have been released. Of all the states to participate, only 10 have released their scores for the Smarter Balanced test. In Hawaii, this has proven to be a promising event.
Of the over 89,300 Hawaiian students to take the exam, 48% met or passed English Language Arts requirements with 41% meeting or passing the new math standards. Though less than half on both sides, Hawaii still ranks better than four of the other 10 states that have gone public with their own scores. This has given Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi hope, as it underlines the simple fact that though the scores aren’t yet amazing, the teachers and students are pursuing the right course of action.
This first year dip has been expected the country over. It’s simply what happens when students take a new test for the first time. Following each subsequent testing, both students and teachers adapt to better prepare for the next round. So, while lower scores may seem troubling to some, it’s nothing but a natural course of progression during this time of change.
In addition, the Hawaiian educators looking at their student’s scores in relation to the other states are finding themselves with a success rate far higher than they are typically accustomed to seeing, giving the state further proof that Common Core was a good decision for their students. With more time, educators are sure their students will live up to the more challenging standards set before them.