Strive HI Performance System

Our new school accountability and improvement system is designed to meet the needs of Hawaii’s students, educators and schools. It aligns and connects our key state education policies and initiatives to position students and educators for success.

Strive HI Steps: Based on Strive HI Index, schools are classified in one of 5 Steps. We're in a transitional year with a new assessment, so strict percentages for these steps are not adhered to for 2014-15.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Hawaii’s school accountability and improvement system

How do you measure how well a school is doing? In our estimation, it's about more than scores on high-stakes tests. Schools should demonstrate that they're supporting all children along the educational pipeline toward college, career and community readiness. Are they attending school? Are they graduating? Are they going to college? Students should be able to demonstrate proficiency, but are they also showing growth? And how successfully are schools reducing the achievement gap between high-needs and non-high-needs students?

The Strive HI Performance System was designed to account for all these factors in student success. To implement it, the state took advantage of the U.S. Department of Education's (USDOE) opportunity to apply for a waiver from certain requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Hawaii's waiver was approved in May 2013 after more than a year of collaboration with Hawaii educators, parents, community groups and higher education stakeholders. Approval was extended in 2014, and was rated the highest level of "meets expectations" across all measurements of the USDOE monitoring report​, one of the few states to achieve the distinction. The USDOE has approved the Strive HI System through the 2017-18 school year (see below).​

  • E​SSA UPDATE: President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law in December 2015. Please review our list of answers to common questions​ about this important update to federal education law, which goes into effect for school year 2017-18.


Data from the four key components of the Strive HI Index are gathered throughout the year. Schools' scores on those components determine placement on the Strive HI Steps, and are released in August. Learn more about the Index and the Steps in About the system, below.

About the system

The Strive HI Performance System is designed to measure and understand school performance and progress and help tailor rewards, supports and interventions for improvement. It aligns with the Strategic Plan and has three components:

  • Goals and Annual Targets: The Strive HI Performance System includes annual goals for English Language Arts/Literacy, math, and science proficiency and graduation rates through School Year (SY) 2017-18. They are ambitious to reflect our belief that all students can achieve college- and career-readiness, and customized for each school complex to provide them with challenging but attainable targets that reflect their current performance. Learn more about the goals and targets and view annual targets for each school complex.
  • The Strive HI Index: The Strive HI Index will use multiple measures of achievement, growth, readiness and achievement gaps to understand schools’ performance and progress and differentiate schools based on their individuals needs for reward, support and intervention. The Index will consider the performance of all students as well as performance gaps between two new student subgroups: “High-Needs Students” and “Non-High Needs Students.” Learn more about how the Index is calculated.
  • The Strive HI Steps: Based on the Index score, schools are placed on one of 5 Steps — Recognition, Continuous Improvement, Focus, Priority and Superintendent’s Zone — as they strive for continuous improvement. The state’s highest-performing schools will receive recognition, financial awards and administrative flexibility to sustain their success. Low-performing schools will receive customized supports based on the lessons learned from Hawaii’s successful school turnarounds. Learn more about how schools are recognized and supported. ​
​Strive HI approval

On June 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education approved the Strive HI system through the 2017-18 school year. 

Strive HI versus NCLB

The Strive HI Performance System replaces many of NCLB’s most outdated and ineffective requirements with a system better designed to meet the needs of Hawaii’s students, educators and schools.


No Child Left Behind (2002-2012)

Strive HI Performance System (2013 -   )

Who designed the system?

The federal government designed the system based on an outdated approach to school reform

Hawaii stakeholders designed the system to align to the BOE/DOE State Strategic Plan’s 2012 vision of success

What is the system’s focus?

Proficiency in reading and math

Readiness for college and careers

How is school performance measured?

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures school performance based mostly on one test, the Hawaii State Assessment (HSA) reading and math scores in grades 3-10

The Strive HI Index measures school performance and progress, using multiple measures including:

  • Student achievement: HSA reading and math scores; end-of-course science assessments.
  • Readiness: Chronic absenteeism; 8th and 11th grade ACT scores in reading, English, math and science; high school graduation rates; and college enrollment.
  • Achievement gap: Reducing the gap between “high-needs students” (those who have a disability, language barriers, or low family income) compared with the achievement of other students.

How are school performance targets set?

All schools are held accountable to meeting one national, aspirational target, regardless of current challenges

Each school is held accountable to meeting ambitious and attainable goals that are customized to each school complex (a high school and its feeder schools), based on current performance

Which students are schools held accountable for?

All schools are held accountable for the performance of student subgroups that do not fully reflect Hawaii’s student population

All schools are held accountable for the performance of all of Hawaii’s students and student subgroups that reflect the state’s student population

How are schools supported for improvement?

Schools are required to use federally-designed, one-size-fits-all interventions

Based on the 5 Strive HI Steps, schools receive customized rewards, support and interventions that have proven successful in Hawaii’s schools

Frequently Asked Questions

Detailed answers to the most common questions about the Strive HI Performance System.

Contact Information

Stephanie Shipton

Phone: 808-586-3800


Strategic Plan campaign

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