How Did Hawai‘i’s Public Schools Rank in 2015?

Strive HI digs into the performances of Hawai‘i’s schools, and ranks them.
Illustration: Katie Carey

For more than a decade, HONOLULU Magazine has been publishing a chart that ranks Hawai‘i’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.


In 2013, 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.


It’s information that’s helpful for anyone with an interest in the quality of Hawai‘i’s public-school system. And after examining the data that went into this new official ranking, we’ve decided it’s 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


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.


Also in this issue, senior editor Don Wallace evaluates the state of Hawai‘i’s public charter schools. Are they fulfilling their original promise or in need of reform? Plus, find out how to maximize your chances of scoring a geographic exception for your child.


View the Chart