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Monday, August 25, 2014
Chronic Absenteeism in Hawaii's public schools plummets 39 percent
By News Release @ 10:49 PM :: 6406 Views :: Education K-12, Hawaii Statistics

Chronic Absenteeism in Hawaii's public schools plummets 39 percent

Reducing chronic absenteeism is a strong predictor of academic success. Science proficiency also rose to 40 percent from 34 percent. As public schools transition to new standards and an aligned assessment, new baseline scores for reading and math proficiency are being set.


Strive HI Steps

The Index is calculated on a 400-point scale based on the categories above.

News Release from Hawaii DoE 25-Aug-2014

HONOLULU – Hawaii’s public elementary schools have made significant headway in reducing the number of students chronically absent, a strong predictor of academic success, according to the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) 2013-14 Strive HI Performance System results.

Chronic absenteeism is one of the most powerful predictors of student success, even accounting for other factors such as poverty and disability. Curbing chronic absenteeism is a key focus of the Strive HI Performance System, which supports schools’ progress based on multiple, research-based indicators.

The percentage of students absent 15 days or more in the 2013-14 school year dropped to 11 percent from 18 percent a year ago. The seven-point drop boosts the prospect for achievement in other performance areas — including proficiency and graduation — for more than 5,500 students statewide.

"During a year of tremendous change in our public schools, it is clear that our students and staff continue to answer the call to strive higher at every level," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "The data shows some clear bright spots, as well as some things we need to continue to work on. I want to thank our principals, teachers, staff, and students for all of the efforts put forward to raise awareness about the importance of attendance. It's not just about showing up for class, it's about laying the educational foundation for student success.”

Strive HI data also show significant student improvement in science proficiency. As schools continue to adjust to Hawaii Common Core standards and assessments, the data revealed slightly lower reading and math proficiency. Results for college-readiness, graduation rates, and college-going rates remained steady.

Launched in the 2012-13 school year, Strive HI replaced outdated aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, which looked only at reading and math scores to impose strict consequences to schools.

Most improved and highest scorers on the 
Strive HI Index (400-point scale).

2013 2014 2014
Pearl City El 124 343 Hokulani El 390
Waiau El 162 327 Kaelepulu El 390
Kaneohe El 118 326 Waikiki El 390
Kalihi-Kai El 84 259 Red Hill El 378
Kamakahelei Middle 101 258 Helemano El 375

Key findings

ABSENTEEISM: The percent of students who are chronically absent (15 days or more) has dropped from 18 percent to 11 percent; other school culture indicators are improving.

  • Improvements are widespread: 163 of 169 elementary schools improved their chronic absenteeism rates.
  • Overall, 5,500 fewer elementary school students were chronically absent – meaning they have far better chances of success.
  • Over the last four years, average daily attendance has increased slightly from 94.0% to 94.3%, and there have been 2,000 fewer suspensions.

“The significant reductions in chronic absenteeism show schools are doing a better job at making instruction more engaging and interesting,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “They are to be commended for working with families and community partners to provide wrap-around services to address attendance barriers like health and transportation issues, intervening with at-risk students based on data, and improving school culture.

“Research shows that when a leading indicator like chronic absenteeism improves, it’s a good sign that improvements in grades, graduation rates and college-going rates will follow,” Nozoe added.


2013 2014 2014
Kula El 32% 13% Hokulani El 2%
Kahaluu El 29% 11% Mililani Ike El 2%
Haaheo El 26% 8% Manoa El 3%
Kaaawa El 23% 6% Momilani El 3%
Kilohana El 22% 4% Noelani El 3%

PROFICIENCY: Students proficient in science climbed to 40 percent from 34 percent. Slight declines were seen in reading (69 percent from 72 percent) and math proficiency (59 percent from 60 percent), as schools adjust to new standards and an expected new baseline for scores.

  • 2,500 additional students were proficient in science.
  • For 2013-14, the Hawaii State Assessment Bridge tests​ for reading and math were administered — they were a subset of questions from the old state assessment that are aligned to the new Hawaii Common Core standards, designed to help the transition to the new Smarter Balanced assessment students will take this year.

Hawaii’s new state assessment will create a new proficiency baseline — students are not doing worse in reading and math, they’re taking a different exam. Parents and the community should look to a school’s student growth performance for a more reliable metric during this transition — seeing how a school’s students are advancing relative to their peers across the state. (School-level Strive HI Performance Reports with growth data and other indicators can be found on school pages on the DOE website.)

Science, which was overlooked by NCLB, is seeing renewed enthusiasm and focus under Strive HI. Some of the factors likely at play here: (1) Around the state, educators are implementing exciting strategies to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) efforts that improve science skills; and (2) the shift to the Hawaii Common Core standards, which focus on applying reading and math skills across subjects to solve real-world problems, helps students in other areas like science.

“We expected an adjustment as new standards and assessments challenge students to understand and demonstrate knowledge and skills in deeper and more meaningful ways,” Matayoshi said. “A new proficiency baseline will be established when students take the Smarter Balanced assessments this year.”


2013 2014 2014
Kaelepulu El 76% 90% Haleiwa El 94%
Niihau School of Kekaha 54% 79% Wilson El 93%
Kalihi-Kai El 41% 55% Waikiki El 93%
Kawaikini PCS 19% 42% Hokulani El 92%
Hilo High 25% 40% Kaelepulu El 90%
Mililani Mauka El 90%


2013 2014 2014
Niihau School of Kekaha 69% 95% Niihau School of Kekaha 95%
Halau Ku Mana 64% 74% Kaelepulu El 93%
Kahuku High & Inter 60% 70% Noelani El 93%
Honokaa High & Inter 59% 69% Haleiwa El 92%
Olomana 27% 51% Hokulani El 92%
Ka Umeke Ka'eo 31% 41% Hickam El 92%
Niihau O Kekaha 17% 28% Mililani Ike El 92%
Waikiki El 92%


2013 2014 2014
Kaelepulu El 47% 97% Kaelepulu El 97%
Maunawili El 38% 96% Maunawili El 96%
Lincoln El 27% 77% Maemae El 92%
Roosevelt High 26% 68% Hokulani El 91%
Waihee El 13% 61% Manoa El 91%
Noelani El 91%

COLLEGE/CAREER READINESS IS STEADY: ACT scores, high school graduation rates and college-going rates remain steady as part of a long-term upward trend.

  • The graduation rate for the Class of 2013 remained at 82 percent and college-going rates for students who graduated in the Class of 2012 remain at 63 percent.
  • The percentage of students reaching a 19 or above on ACT remains steady at 34 percent, while the number of students meeting ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks edged up from to 9 percent from 7 percent. Based on local research, a composite score of 19 on the ACT exam indicates readiness for entry-level courses in the University of Hawaii System.
  • The percentage of students requiring remedial classes in college English remained steady at 31 percent, while math remediation dropped to 32 percent from 36 percent.

“We would all like to see more rapid improvement in indicators of college-readiness: ACT scores, graduation rates and college-going rates,” Matayoshi said. “We expect they will improve over time as absenteeism drops, and more students are engaging in rich learning experiences and receiving individualized supports.”


8th grade ACT exams were administered in all DOE middle schools last year. 
We will have a most improved category for this table next year.

Niu Valley Middle 75%
Kaimuki Middle 74%
Mililani Middle 67%
Moanalua Middle 67%
Aliamanu Middle 65%

Percentage of students who scored a 19 or above.

2013 2014 2014
Roosevelt High 47% 58% Roosevelt High 58%
Radford High 38% 46% Moanalua High 55%
Konawaena High 24% 32% Kaiser High 53%
Kohala High 13% 23% Mililani High 50%
Hana High & El 0 13% Pearl City High 50%
2013 2014 2014
Kanu O Ka Aina 0 20% University Laboratory School 69%
Halau Ku Mana 0 20% Thompson Academy 63%
Ke Ana Laahana 0 20% Kihei Charter 55%
Hakipuu 0 17% Hawaii Technology Academy 53%
      W. Hawaii Explorations 45%


2013 2014 2014
Kalani High 86% 93% Niihau 100%
Pahoa High & Inter 82% 89% Lanai High & El 98%
Kealakehe High 80% 87% Anuenue 94%
Ehunuikaimalino 60% 87% Moanalua High 94%
Konawaena High 79% 86% Hana High & El 93%
McKinley High 71% 79% Kalani High 93%
2013 2014 2014
Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science 68% 85% Kamakau 100%
Kawaikini 60% 78% University Laboratory School 100%
Niihau O Kekaha 0 75% Kanu o Ka Aina 91%
Kanuikapono 0 25% Thompson Academy 88%
      Laupahoehoe 87%


2013 2014 2014
Roosevelt High 75% 81% Kalani High 87%
Aiea High 60% 72% Roosevelt High 81%
Lanai High & El 52% 63% Kaiser High 79%
Kahuku High & Inter 50% 61% Waiakea High 78%
Waianae High 41% 48% Moanalua High 77%
2013 2014 2014
Halau Ku Mana 25% 100% Halau Ku Mana 100%
Ke Ana Laahana 50% 75% Kawaikini 100%
Hawaii Technology Academy 50% 70% University Laboratory School 86%
Connections 40% 59% Hakipuu 83%
      Ke Ana Laahana 75%

14 New Recognition Schools

Schools are added to the Strive HI Steps on a two-year cycle, so most schools receive a new step classification in odd years. However, 14 schools met the Recognition School criteria for highest-performing or highest-progress schools for the first time. These schools will receive recognition and a financial reward at an event next month.

  • Pomaikai Elementary (High Performing)
  • Puohala Elementary (High Performing)
  • Hahaione Elementary (High Performing)
  • Kilohana Elementary (High Performing)
  • Enchanted Lake Elementary (High Performing)
  • Kaelepulu Elementary (High Performing and High Progress)
  • Mokapu Elementary (High Performing)
  • Noelani Elementary (High Performing)
  • Kaumualii Elementary (High Performing)
  • Helemano Elementary (High Performing)
  • Hickam Elementary (High Performing)
  • Maunaloa Elementary (High Performing)
  • de Silva Elementary (High Performing)
  • Hokulani Elementary (High Performing)

One Priority School, Niihau o Kekaha, also met the criteria to be reclassified as a Focus School. Results for 23 other schools are pending an appeals process that will conclude in mid-September.

About Strive HI

The Strive HI Performance System is Hawaii’s school accountability and improvement system. It provides data to help understand a school’s performance and progress on multiple research-based indicators, including reading, math and science scores, achievement growth and gaps, chronic absenteeism, graduation rates, college readiness and enrollment.

Strive HI is a diagnostic tool that’s designed to be more comprehensive than NCLB. It is a tool to support, not rank, schools. The federal government approved Hawaii’s Strive HI system last year and extended approval through this year.

“Strive HI gives schools actionable data they can use to inform their improvement efforts, provides a snapshot of the overall health of the school to inform parents and communities, and it helps us deploy resources and support schools strategically,” Nozoe said. “This is not about ranking schools against each other.”

To view a school's Strive HI Performance Report, follow these simple steps:

  • Visit and click on "Find Schools"
  • Type in the school in "Find by school name"
  • Click "Show Results"
  • When the school listing appears in the results, click "Read More"
  • Click on the link under the header Strive HI report; reports for 2013-14 and 2012-13 are listed.


About the DOE
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth-largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 255 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves more than 185,000 students. King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840. The DOE is in the midst of a range of historic efforts to transform its public education system to ensure graduates succeed in college or careers. View our
Milestones of Transformation.


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