The HCS Scoop

May 2018

Why We Test and What We Test in the Hawaii Catholic Schools

The amount of testing or assessment done in some school systems has come under fire recently. A recent comprehensive survey of testing in the nation’s largest public school districts shows that a typical student takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-kindergarten and 12th grade (Council of the Great City Schools Study). The story of testing in our Hawaii Catholic Schools is very different.

Why Our Students Take Standardized Tests – We administer summative standardized assessments for several reasons; primarily to measure a student’s performance and provide desired and anticipated feedback to that student and his/her parents. These nationally-normed standardized tests also help students and parents know how well a child is achieving relative to other students in his/her grade from the normed group (i.e. other students in their grade from around the country). Those same reports provide the school with information used to determine the strengths and weaknesses related to the scope, sequence and pedagogy within curricula.

What We Test – We test only what we believe is important and only when we think it BEST FOR THE STUDENT AND FUTURE STUDENTS. The Hawaii Catholic Schools Office mandates only three summative standardized tests for students in Grades 2 – 8.

Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education (ACRE) for Grades 5 and 8 – This assessment provides the student, family and school a measurement of the student’s faith knowledge and personal development. It also helps the school assess their religion curriculum and overall school catechesis.

Terra Nova Nationally Normed Achievement Test and Inview Cognitive Abilities Assessment for Grades 2–8 – Administered in April, the “Terra Nova” assesses student achievement in Reading, Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. Overall grade performances are compared to the Terra Nova’s national norms. With the “Inview” test, it also provides one measure to parents on how well a student is achieving in relation to his/her abilities.

Educational Consultants and Research Associates Writing Tests (ECRA) for Grades 4, 6 and 8 – The ECRA results provide a measurement of the over-all effectiveness of a student’s writing and how well the writing meets the Common Core Writing Standards for a particular grade level in a specific modality - Narrative, Informative/Explanatory and Opinion.

Assessing a student’s academic achievement is important. However, all standardized tests need to be understood as only one measurement of a student’s achievement on a specific day. Many internal and external factors can affect a test’s reliability or validity on any given day for a given child.

Most importantly, the mission of the Hawaii Catholic Schools is about educating the whole person. We understand educational excellence includes faith, personal excellence, moral character and academic excellence. Our vision for our students touches every part of our school day and every curriculum area. The Hawaii Catholic Schools are called to graduate students with Faith, Integrity and Scholarship. Let’s remember that the most important aspects of a person can’t be measured by a standardized test.

In Christ,

Michael Rockers, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Summer School/Programs and Professional Development Information Now Available

Summer School/Programs for your keiki and Professional Development opportunities for 2018 are now posted on the Hawaii Catholic Schools website. Visit and see both listings under "News".


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Aloha and Mahalo Gail Mitchell!

A special big THANK YOU goes out to Gail Mitchell who's six year term ended with this quarter's board meeting. She has faithfully served on our Diocesan Board of Education (DBOE), representing the Maui/Lanai Vicariate, for two consecutive 3-year terms. May God continue to bless you, your family, and your travels! (pictured: Superintendent Dr. Mike Rockers, Gail Mitchell, Associate Superintendent Betsey Gunderson)

NCEA Catholic Education Parent Engagement Flyer

Summer vacation can be a great time for rest and renewal for educators and students. But every year, there is concern about how to keep students from sliding backwards academically when their study routines are interrupted. The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Leadership Development Team have come up with a flyer addressing how to help keep students from sliding backwards in their faith routines during the summer vacation. See the flyer HERE....

We're Hiring!

Help us spread the word that our schools are hiring! Click here to visit the Careers page for the Diocese of Honolulu where our schools list their respective job openings.

Upcoming Dates

  • Feast of Saint Damien of Molokai | 5/10
  • HCS Administrators' End of the Year Social | 5/17 | Ko'olau Ballrooms
  • Memorial Day | 5/28 | Observed at Diocesan Offices
  • King Kamehameha Day | 6/11 | Observed at Diocesan Offices
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