Hawaii State Assessment: Parent Information Booklet

— State: Hawaii Department of Education
Updated on Oct 27, 2011

What Every Parent Should Know About the Hawaii State Assessment

The purposes of the Hawaii State Assessment are to (1) meet or exceed the requirements of NCLB (2001), Chapter 302A of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, and Hawaii Board of Education Policy 2520-Statewide Assessment Program, (2) promote and measure the attainment of the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards (HCPS) in reading, mathematics, and science, (3) provide information to stakeholders about the achievement of students, schools, complex areas and the state relative to the HCPS, and (4) support instructional program improvement efforts.

The Hawaii State Assessments (HSA) in Reading and Mathematics are criterion-referenced assessments that are administered to students in grades 3 - 8 and 10. Criterion-referenced proficiency level scores are reported at the end of each school year and these scores are used to determine a school's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Students in grades 4, 8, and 10 also take the HSA in Science.

The Hawaii State Assessments in Reading, Mathematics, and Science are administered online using the American Institutes for Research (AIR) test delivery system.

You can find more information on the HSA at:


Q: Why is my child being tested?

  • In 1999 the Hawaii State Department of Education established learning expectations, known as the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards, for Hawaii’s students. These high academic standards give students clear achievement goals and help guide instruction in the schools.
  • These standards identify important ideas, concepts, and skills students must learn and describe what students must do to show their mastery of the standards. The Hawaii State Assessment measures how well students are doing on the reading and mathematics standards.
  • State and federal laws require annual testing of students in reading and mathematics. In compliance with these laws, the Hawaii State Assessment provides clear information on how well your child is meeting these standards.

Q: When will I receive my child’s test scores?

  • Your child will be tested in the spring. You will receive your child’s individual scores for reading and mathematics from the school during the fall

Q: What types of scores will my child receive?

  • Your child will receive stanine and percentile rank scores for the Stanford Achievement Test’s Reading and Mathematics sections. These scores will provide a national comparison with thousands of other students in the same grade who took the test at the same time and under the same testing conditions as your child.
  • Your child will also receive proficiency level scores for reading and mathematics that indicate how well he or she is meeting Hawaii’s standards.

Q: What types of questions are on the Hawaii State Assessment?

  • For the two Stanford Achievement Test sections (Reading and Mathematics), your child is asked to answer multiple-choice questions.
  • For the Hawaii standards sections, your child is asked to answer two types of questions: multiple-choice questions that are similar to the ones in the Stanford Achievement Test sections and questions that require a written response. In the reading section, some questions may require that your child write a sentence or two, and some questions may require that your child write a paragraph. In the mathematics section, some questions may require that your child create a graph, diagram, or data table, or show his or her calculations.
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