How Did Hawaii’s Public Schools Rank in 2014?

This year’s chart offers a whole new way of ranking Hawaii’s schools.

For more than a decade, HONOLULU Magazine has been publishing a chart that ranks Hawaii’s public schools from best to worst. We started with official state Department of Education data—math and reading scores, and satisfaction surveys—and then did our own number crunching to arrive at an overall score for each school. It was a bit unorthodox, but we felt it provided valuable snapshot comparisons of the performances of different schools, that were unavailable anywhere else. Readers agreed—the schools chart has become one of our most popular annual pieces.

Last year, the state DOE unveiled a new program called Strive HI. It’s a tool to assess the performance of schools by collecting academic measures such as math and reading scores, as well as attendance and graduation rates and other important criteria, and crunching them all together to arrive at an overall score for each school. Sound familiar?

We think it’s a real step forward for the DOE, one that’s helpful for anyone with an interest in the quality of Hawaii’s public-school system. And after examining the data that went into this new official ranking, we decided it was solid enough to publish in place of our old methodology.

Because we don’t have the space to print every performance measure that went into each school’s score, we selected the ones we thought families and taxpayers would be most interested in, including math, science and reading scores and graduation rates. The overall score for each school still incorporates the complete list of measures, of course—to see a detailed, full performance report for an individual school, visit and click on the link in the center of the page for “Strive HI System.”

To make it easier to compare schools in an apples-to-apples way, we’ve divided the list into three sections: elementary, middle and high schools. Also, because raw number scores can sometimes be a little unwieldy, we’ve taken the liberty of giving each school a report-card-style letter grade, A through F, based on a curve. This isn’t an official grade handed out by the DOE, but we think it’s a useful shorthand when discussing how well a school is performing according to the Strive HI metrics.

For more on the shift to Strive HI, see our FAQ. Also in this issue, a look at how public-school teachers and administrators are using individual student data to maximize the effectiveness of their lesson plans.

Download the chart