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Hawaii Deploys Tools for Common Core Assessment

The Hawaiian Department of Education will implement English language arts and math assessment tools for all schools in the state.

As part of the federal Race to the Top initiative, Hawaii has chosen the Assess2Know item bank, developed by Riverside Publishing, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Race to the Top asks states to deploy data systems to monitor student progress, and recommend to teachers how they can improve instruction.

Assess2Know will allow Hawaii to evaluate students' performance using thousands of measures in alignment with instructional objectives and Common Core State Standards, which were implemented in 2011.

It lets the state select which specific standards are assessed on each exam, how many items per standard, and the number of testing events. Items are created using a four-step process, including item development, item alignment, analysis of core standards coverage, and gap filling and finalization. When developing bank items, Assess2Know looks at factors such as bias and sensitivity, representational fairness, language usage, stereotyping, controversial subject matter, and historical context.

Assess2Know provides the option of using Riverside Publishing's Edusoft Assessment Management System, hand scoring, or local scoring methods. In addition, teachers can develop their own customized 30-50 minute benchmark assessments with an online generator to create tests measuring knowledge of Common Core State Standards subject materials.

Tests can be saved in PDF or Microsoft Word format and printed. After receiving online test results, teachers can create student remediation plans.

The United States Department of Education recently approved several amendments to Hawaii's Race to the Top plan, including a reallocation of $1 million for a community access Web portal, delaying the launch of a science, technology, engineering, and math virtual center from July 2011 until July 2013, and moving $1.6 million from the Hawaii Partnership for Educational Research Consortium project to provide free extended learning opportunities for students in the Zones of School Innovation, starting this summer.

Hawaii has one statewide public school district with 180,000 students and approximately 13,000 teachers.

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Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.