Hawaii Common Core Standards

Hawaii Common Core Standards define the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in college and careers when they graduate. They align with college and workforce expectations, are clear and consistent, include rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order skills, are evidence-based, and are informed by standards in top-performing countries.

​​​The standards

Hawaii Common Core Standards are a call to take another leap forward in our efforts toward ensuring that all of our students graduate from high school college-, career- and community-ready. The aim was to create a set of common learning expectations for mathematics and for English Language Arts/Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects. Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core.

It's important to note that the Common Core is not curriculum or teaching methods, but standards. Standards define what students should understand and be able to do at each grade level. The Common Core standards, which were initiated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, were crafted by teachers, parents and community leaders. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

The Department began its implementation of the Common Core in 2011-2012 with grades K-2 and 11-12, with implementation in all grade levels in 2013-2014. Teachers are working collaboratively with principals and leadership to design educational tools and practices that best deliver on these standards.

The video below is part of a campaign to help engage the community on the value of the Common Core in reaching the state's goals of greater college attendance, readiness and graduation for our keiki. You can learn more about those efforts on our Hawaii P-20 page.

The test

Our schools are transitioning from the Hawaii State Assessment to a new statewide test aligned to the Common Core.
The Smarter Balanced exam had a test-run in the 2013-14 school year, and will be implemented in the 2014-15 school year.

Access Learning

No longer will students have to tote 50-pound backpacks with outdated print textbooks. New Core-aligned digital curricular materials will be accessible via light digital devices — such as a laptop or tablet — that combine Internet connectivity, interactive and personalized content, learning videos and games, and other creative applications to enable collaboration with other students while providing instantaneous feedback to the student and teacher. The Department is gathering data from Access Learning, a digital curriculum pilot, to inform broader deployment of interactive, updated curricular materials.

English Language Arts overview

    • Established “staircase” of increasing complexity so that all students are ready for the demands of college- and career-level reading.
    • Standards include certain critical types of content for all students, including classic myths and stories from around the world, foundational U.S. documents, and works of literature.
    • The standards are the building blocks of the classroom, but appropriate curriculum will be determined by teachers and the state level. Sample texts of a diverse array of classic and contemporary literature as well as challenging informational texts in a range of subjects will be provided so teachers can prepare for the school year, and parents and students know what to expect at the beginning of the year.
    • The ability to write logical arguments based on substantive claims, sound reasoning and relevant evidence, along with opinion writing.
    • Student research — both short-focused projects, and longer, in-depth research, followed by a written analysis and presentation of findings.
    • Annotated samples of student writing accompany the standards to help establish performance levels in writing arguments, informational/explanatory texts and narratives in various grades.
    • Students will gain, evaluate, and present increasingly complex information, ideas and evidence through listening and speaking as well as through various media platforms.
    • Academic discussions in one-on-one, small-group and whole-class settings. Informal discussions and formal presentations where students collaborate to answer questions, build understanding and solve problems.
    • Students’ vocabularies will grow through a mix of conversations, direct instruction and reading. The standards will help students determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases.
    • Students use formal English in writing and speaking to make informed, skillful choices in preparation for real-life experience at college and 21st century careers.
    • How vocabulary extends across reading, writing, speaking and listening.
    • Integrated in school and life in the 21st century — and critical analysis and using media are integrated throughout the standards.

Math overview

  • Standards stress not only procedural skills, but conceptual understanding to ensure students are learning and absorbing critical information — not just memorizing for a test only to forget it shortly after.
  • Kindergarten: Kindergarteners will learn how numbers correspond to quantities, learn how to put numbers together and take them apart — building blocks of addition and subtraction.
  • K-5: Solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fraction and decimals. Build a foundation of how students can apply more demanding math concepts and procedures and move into practical applications of those core math principles.
  • Middle School: With a solid K-5 foundation, students can do hands-on learning in geometry, algebra, probability and statistics.
  • High School: Applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues and challenges. A rigorous definition of college and career readiness by helping students develop a depth of understanding and ability to apply math to novel situations as college students and employers regularly do.

​Standards Toolkit website

Access standards, rubrics and curricular materials for Hawaii Common Core and the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III.

Contact Information

Monica Mann

Phone: 808-305-9702

Email: monica_mann@hawaiidoe.org

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