Ten public schools in Maui County met federal benchmarks for adequate yearly progress (AYP) in the 2011-12 school year, an increase over the six schools that reached the level in the 2010-11 school year.
And while some schools that met standards last year fell short this year, some schools barely missed the benchmark and showed improvement by coming closer, said Bruce Anderson, superintendent of the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area.
"One of the real bright spots that we had in Central Maui was our middle schools were real close to making AYP," Anderson said. "Kalama and Maui Waena only missed by two cells. It's encouraging because we used to miss by more cells.
"We're getting better. We're doing a lot better job of recognizing the differences in kids, so we're doing a better job of teaching."
Students are grouped into cells based on categories such as special education, English as a second language and ethnicity. If even one cell doesn't achieve the benchmark level, the school doesn't meet the expected standard.
"You might miss it just by one student," Anderson said. "They're all showing improvement, but not in terms of making AYP."
Schools were expected to show that 72 percent of students were proficient in reading and 64 percent were proficient in math. The 2012 Hawaii State Assessment data was released Tuesday.
The assessments are done to determine whether schools are making adequate yearly progress toward the No Child Left Behind federal mandate that every student be proficient by 2014. More than half, or 53 percent of schools statewide, failed to meet the mark during the 2011-12 school year, an improvement from 59 percent in 2010-11.
The state Department of Education said that public school students made gains across grade levels in reading and math test scores, jumping 5 percentage points statewide.
The Maui County schools that showed adequate yearly progress this year were Waihee, Haiku, Makawao, Pukalani, Pomaikai, King Kamehameha III, Kaunakakai, Kilohana and Maunaloa elementary schools and Molokai Middle School.
The Pukalani, Kilohana and Maunaloa schools also met the standards last year.
Kula, Paia and Kamalii elementary schools met standards last year but didn't this year.
Instead of relying on adequate yearly progress ratings to decide on schools for children, Anderson suggested that parents go to their neighborhood school and talk to the principal about any curriculum concerns.
"They are all working hard," he said.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, public and charter schools are rated based on their ability to make progress toward educational benchmarks. Schools that meet standards for adequate yearly progress are rated in good standing, while those that miss benchmarks for one year are given a "pending" status. Schools that miss the benchmarks for multiple years are rated as needing improvement or planning for restructuring. If a school misses the federal standards for four or more years, it is subject to "restructuring," major interventions that include hiring of outside consultants.
* Good Standing, Unconditional: Waihee Elementary, Haiku Elementary, Makawao Elementary, Pukalani Elementary, Pomaikai Elementary, Kaunakakai Elementary, Kilohana Elementary, Maunaloa Elementary.
* Good Standing, Pending: Wailuku Elementary*, Kula Elementary*, Paia Elementary*, Kahului Elementary*, Kamalii Elementary*.
* School Improvement, Year 1: Kihei Elementary*, Kualapuu Elementary NCPCCS*.
* Planning for Restructuring: Kihei Charter School*.
* Restructuring: Baldwin High*, Iao Intermediate*, King Kekaulike*, Kalama Intermediate*, Lihikai Elementary*, Lokelani Intermediate*, Maui High*, Maui Waena Intermediate*, Hana High & Elementary*, King Kamehameha III Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate*, Lahainaluna High*, Princess Nahienaena Elementary*, Lanai High & Elementary*, Molokai High*, Molokai Middle.
Asterisks indicate that the schools did not meet standards for adequate yearly progress in the 2011-12 school year.