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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 3, 2006

Hawai'i's scores closer than most other states

 •  States' proficiency tests raise doubts

Advertiser Staff

Robert McClelland

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In Hawai'i, 56 percent of fourth-graders were proficient or better in reading on the state test. On the federal test, only 23 percent were. In math, the scores were closer: 26 percent on the state test, 27 percent on the federal test.

But compared with the rest of the states, only one had a smaller gap than Hawai'i in math. In reading, only about 11 states had smaller gaps.

Robert McClelland, director of the Hawai'i Department of Education's planning and evaluation office, finds some satisfaction in knowing that most of the other states have far wider point gaps, particularly in reading scores. What it says is that while NAEP is highly rigorous, he said, the Hawai'i State Assessment examination is also rigorous.

"If it's in that range, that confirms to me the NAEP reading exam is especially rigorous. But it doesn't mean ours is real easy," McClelland told The Advertiser.

"We've been hearing that our standards might be tougher but I don't know that they're too tough. They might be right on target and other states are maybe making it way too easy to pass their state exam and they're kind of cheating their kids by doing that."

McClelland also suggested that the point gap could mean that some of the questions students missed were worth multiple points.