CRDG, in a partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HDOE), began reexamining the Hawai‘i State Content and Performance Standards III (HCPS III) in the core areas of English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The primary goal of the project was to identify essential core content and to clarify the language of, and reduce the number of, benchmarks in order to better focus teaching and learning. To accomplish this, project staff gathered data about the successful implementation of standards-based instruction and the perceived barriers to successful implementation, reviewed recent changes in the national standards, examined standards-based education in exemplary states, and examined external reviews of HCPS III. Working groups of content experts streamlined the existing benchmarks in order to identify which are essential and worked on wording to be sure they are clear and specific enough to guide instruction. As the project continues into 2009, ongoing work will be reviewed by HDOE teachers and staff and by higher education faculty.
The Standards Streamlining Project offered a unique opportunity to align a variety of components of our statewide education efforts, including K–12 standards and expectations in core subject areas, state teacher preparation programs, K–12 curriculum development and selection, professional development for in-service teachers, and assessment of student learning.
An advisory group was set up early in the process to provide guidance during the project and advocacy for the completed work. Members of this group include the HDOE superintendant and assistant superintendent, the HDOE testing coordinator, the project’s principal investigator, the chair of the Standards Committee of the BOE, representatives from both community colleges and four-year institutions, business leaders, and a military representative.