Hawaii was the only state to improve in every area on the only test that provides a valid comparison of student achievement among states, according to Gov. Neil Abercrombie‘s website of first-year accomplishments.

“Hawaii was the only state with gains in every grade and every subject on the National Assessment of Educational Progress which is the only valid comparison among states,” the website notes under a header entitled “Education Gains.”

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” or more simply, NAEP, measures students’ proficiency in reading and math. It is administered every two years to a sampling of students from fourth and eighth grades in every state, in both public and private schools.

While Hawaii students still lag their peers in some subjects, this year’s NAEP results were cause for celebration among Hawaii Department of Education officials in November, because they reflected gains in both subjects at both grade levels.

“Hawaii was the only state to improve in both subjects and at both grades,” states the federal report, issued on November 1.

This year, the percentage of Hawaii eighth-graders who scored at or above the “proficient” benchmark in math rose to 30 percent, from 25 percent two years ago. The national average this year is 34 percent.

Hawaii’s eighth-graders also improved in reading, from 22 percent at or above proficient in 2009, to 26 percent this year. The national average this year is 32 percent.

The percentage of fourth-graders who scored proficient or better was about the same as two years ago: 39 percent in math — the same as the national average — compared with 37 percent in 2009. In reading, 27 percent scored proficient, compared with 26 percent two years ago. That’s five points behind the national average of 32 percent.

“While much work remains to be done, the results demonstrate that Hawaii is primed for increased success as our focused reform efforts reach every classroom,” Abercrombie’s website states.

The Bottom Line: Abercrombie is correct in declaring that Hawaii was the only state to make progress in all areas of the only student assessment that currently serves as a valid comparison among states.

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