Family resources for Hawaii Common Core standards, assessments

Families are key in student preparedness. New standards (Hawaii Common Core) and assessments (Smarter Balanced) are creating shifts in the classroom that involve more dynamic, evidence- and technology-based learning than what classes used to look like a generation ago. We encourage families to dig in to these resources to help students be ready to learn.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Practice Tests

The Department's Assessments Section is hosting online practice tests on the Statewide Assessment Program website. Take the new Common Core-aligned state assessment (Smarter Balanced) for a spin! Click to launch the website, then follow these instructions:

  1. Click "Practice & Training Tests" to launch the program.
  2. Log in as a "GUEST"
  3. Click through until you can select an exam from a series of grades. You can also demo the End of Course exam and others.
  4. Do the test!

​Prefer non-interactive questions? Connect with our practice questions broken out by grade level. These give an excellent overview of the kinds of questions students can expect to see on the assessments.


Short videos that quickly illustrate what's changed with new standards. Watch this popular Three-Minute Overview from the Council of Great City Schools, and other videos by clicking the links below.



  • Conversation: Mathematics — New tests require demonstrating knowledge [VIEW​]
  • Conversation: English Language Arts/Literacy — ​Reading for clues, like a detective! [VIEW​]
  • Con​versation: Common Core — Making sure students "get a topic" before taking a step up [VIEW​]
  • Why is Math Different Now? — The value of teaching beyond memorization [VIEW​]
  • Why Common Core math problems look so weird [VIEW​]

Resource websites

  • The Homework Help Desk: Have a question about your child’s homework? This site has aggregated frequently asked questions by grade and by subject. You can read more about a specific concept or watch a quick video that explains it in more detail. If your question isn’t answered below or you want to dig deeper, try asking a specific question to one of the trained teachers via live chat.
  • Hawaii's Parent Teacher Student Association produced a "Parenting Resources" section on their website to help parents guide their children to success in school. Includes breakouts for the Common Core and information to boost parental involvement in helpful ways.
  • Great Kids Milestones video series for grades K-5 provides a breakdown of what children should know by the end of each grade level​.
  • Parent roadmaps, grades K-8: Provides guidance to parents about what their children will be learning and how they can support that learning. Provides three-year snapshots showing how selected standards progress from year-to-year.
  • Be a Learning Hero: Website connects families with the best resources for standards and assessments — from trusted parent organizations like the National PTA, Great Schools, and Common Sense Media. It's designed to help parents support their child’s academic success and, more importantly, to create a love of learning.

Lexile measures in Hawaii

A Lexile measure is a valuable piece of information about either an individual's reading ability or the difficulty of a text, like a book or magazine article. Lexile measures can forecast how well a reader will comprehend a text. Recognized as the standard for matching readers with texts, tens of millions of students worldwide receive a Lexile measure that helps them find targeted readings from more than 100 million articles, books and websites. Lexile measures can be used to bridge the ELA assessment and instruction. To find out more about Lexile measures, click here.

Helpful handouts

Instructional Shifts: Information about and examples of shifts in English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) and Math, broken down by elementary, middle and high school. These were printed and sent home with students in January 2015, along with a letter from the Superintendent.

Mathematics Mathematics Mathematics

Factsheets: We've broken down some of the more complicated aspects of standards, assessments and public education goals and requirements into one-pagers that cover the basics. Want to learn more? Connect with your school's principal, or email the Department at

  • Terms & Meanings: There are a lot of terms to describe components of a child’s education — sometimes they get used interchangeably and the meanings are confused or conflated.
  • Smarter Balanced: Common questions about the new Common Core-aligned assessment for students in grades 3-8 and 11.
  • Mythbusters: Setting the record straight on what Hawaii Common Core is not.
Digital Media — be connected!

Sharing information about new standards and assessments along with success stories from our schools around the state.


Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200



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