H.R. NO.



H.D. 1














     WHEREAS, enactment of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and Race to the Top program in 2009 shifted national education priorities from inquiry-based teaching to standardized testing; and


     WHEREAS, the nation's schools spend growing amounts of time, money, and energy on standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to evaluate individual students, educators, and schools; and


     WHEREAS, an overemphasis on standardized testing has adversely affected public schools, teachers, and students by narrowing academic curricula; reducing arts and cultural education; causing teachers to teach to the test; decreasing whole-child and vocational programs; and creating a climate of compliance and fear among students, teachers, and administrators; and


     WHEREAS, the adverse effects of standardized testing most directly affect low-income students, English-language learners, students from ethnic-minority backgrounds, and students with disabilities; and


     WHEREAS, according to a 2014 study conducted by the National Education Association, seventy-two percent of teachers feel considerable pressure to improve test scores and a majority of teachers report spending too much time on testing and test preparation, with the average teacher spending approximately thirty percent of the teacher's time on tasks related to standardized tests; and

     WHEREAS, a 2014 PDK/Gallup poll on public attitudes toward public schools found that only thirty-one percent of parents support using standardized test scores to evaluate educators; and


     WHEREAS, there is a diverse and bipartisan movement to opt out of standardized testing led by students, parents, teachers, administrators, and organizations, which includes the National Center for Fair & Open Testing and United Opt Out National; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Education administers standardized tests in multiple grade levels that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, including the Smarter Balanced Assessment; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Education has active contracts with third-party entities to facilitate standardized testing and test-based curricula that total approximately $60,000,000; and


     WHEREAS, the estimated cost of standardized testing does not include time spent on test preparation, interim testing, classroom materials related to standardized testing, computer equipment and personnel needed to administer standardized tests, and the opportunity cost of educational programs eliminated to increase time for standardized testing; and


     WHEREAS, in 2015, President Barack Obama criticized the proliferation of standardized testing throughout the nation and called on school districts to limit the amount of time spent preparing for and taking standardized tests to no more than two percent of a student's instructional time; and


     WHEREAS, in 2019, former Vice President Joseph Biden pledged to reduce standardized testing in public schools if he was elected President of the United States, saying that, "teaching to a test underestimates and discounts the things that are most important for students to know,"; and


     WHEREAS, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act provides states with increased flexibility in the use of standardized testing, including eliminating federally mandated inclusion of standardized tests in teacher evaluations, allowing states to choose what test to use for annual school assessments, permitting states to institute a cap limiting the amount of time that students spend preparing for and taking standardized tests, and providing funding to states for auditing and streamlining assessment systems; and


     WHEREAS, a survey of public school principals in Hawaii conducted by Ward Research in July 2016 found that:


     (1)  Eighty-five percent of principals agreed that instructional time spent preparing for and taking standardized tests should be reduced; and


     (2)  Eighty-four percent of principals felt that the Department of Education should consider changes in the Smarter Balanced Assessment; and


     WHEREAS, a survey of public school teachers conducted by Governor David Ige's Every Student Succeeds Act Team found that ninety-one percent of teachers felt that the State should consider changes to its current testing program; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's Blueprint for Public Education, developed by Governor David Ige's Every Student Succeeds Act Team, called for reconsideration of Hawaii's membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium; and


     WHEREAS, numerous states have begun implementing authentic assessments, which de-emphasizes standardized testing and instead focuses on student performance indicators that promotes critical thinking, open-ended questioning, and collaborative learning; and


     WHEREAS, at the beginning of the Regular Session of 2021, the Department of Education was facing approximately $400,000,000 in budget cuts that jeopardized teacher and staff positions, curricular programs for vulnerable students, and other educational services; and


     WHEREAS, the continuation of unnecessary standardized tests would deplete school resources that would be better devoted to maintaining school staffing levels, providing personal protective equipment, and delivering essential learning programs; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, that the Board of Education and Department of Education are urged to reduce standardized testing in the public education system; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Education and Department of Education are urged to replace standardized testing with authentic assessments that promote critical thinking and align classroom instruction with real-world problem-solving, including assessments based on project-based learning; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Education is requested to submit a report to the Legislature on its efforts to reduce standardized testing in public schools no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Chairperson of the Board of Education, and Superintendent of Education.

Report Title:

Department of Education; Standardized Testing