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ERIC Number: ED516601
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 160
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-7115-2
Hawaii Board of Education's Middle Grade Promotion Policy: A Policy Implementation Study
Barton, Corey M.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
To compete in the global economy, high school graduates need to be college and career ready. The number of jobs for those with a high school diploma or less is dwindling. Investing in education is more important than ever. According to Hawaii Department of Education's 2008 Superintendent's Report, Hawaii has been graduating only about 80% of its freshmen on time with lower performing schools only graduating 60% on time. Hawaii's eighth graders are transitioning to high school with skill levels well below levels needed for success. To combat the problem of unprepared eighth graders transitioning to high school, the Hawaii Board of Education passed Policy 4502 in 2002, as part of its Promotion Policy 4500 Series. Policy 4502 is titled, "Middle Level Education Promotion Policy." Policy 4502 states that in order for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students to be promoted, they need to have a passing grade in the four core subjects of language arts, math, science, and social studies. The goal of the policy is to make sure students promoted to high school are prepared. This study sought to look at how the Hawaii Department of Education has implemented Policy 4502 and if it is achieving it goals. The purpose of this study is to inform policy makers in the state of Hawaii of the effectiveness of the implementation of Policy 4502. Using a qualitative method of semi-structured interviews, 13 people were interviewed from two higher and two lower performing middle/intermediate schools and the high schools they feed into. Through these interviews this researcher found: (1) Teachers and administrators knew about the policy and could deduct the goals of the policy. (2) Policy 4502 is not achieving some of its goals; students are still being passed up to ninth grade that do not know basic math skills; ninth grade retentions are not declining. (3) The mechanisms (tools and targets) used to carry out the policy are not aligned with the policy's goals (Loeb & McEwan, 2006); this this is due to the subjectivity in the established criteria (teachers' judgments of the students' abilities to perform benchmarks and/or the inconsistencies in interpreting the performance benchmarks and/or the conflict between the policy and their personal beliefs); teachers are inconsistent in implementing/enforcing the policy. There are disincentives for schools that do carry out the policy. (4) Students are coming into middle/intermediate school behind; social promotion in elementary schools undermines implementation at middle/intermediate level. (5) There is no district or state level support to help implement the policy; schools are left to help the poor performing students by themselves; and there is not enough resources and/or supports at the school level to implement the policy with 100% effectiveness. (6) Credit recovery is the intervention used for students who do not pass. The philosophy behind credit recovery is to "find a way" to get the students the credits and move them forward. Many of the credit recovery options are shorter courses with modified curriculum. Some are not taught by teachers. Considering these findings, this researcher recommends reviewing the policy and making adjustments that focus on: (1) Identify at-risk students early (McCombs, Kirby, & Mariano 2009; Marsh et al., 2009; Jimerson, 2001). (2) Provide timely and targeted prescribed interventions based on the needs of the individual child (skills based or behavior based) before retention is used as an intervention (McCombs, Kirby, & Mariano, 2009; Marsh et al., 2009; Jimerson, 2001; Jacob, Stone, and Roderick, 2004). (3) Establish a K-8 promotion policy aimed at ending social promotion and linked to students' skill levels (Marsh et al., 2006, 2009; McCombs, Kirby, & Mariano 2009; Allensworth, 2004; Roderick and Nagaoka, 2005; Greene and Winters 2004, 2006). (4) Link the policy to a test-based system for consistency, with an appeal process that is monitored by district and state personnel; removing the subjectivity of the teachers' interpretations and/or conflicts with personal beliefs (Marsh et al., 2006, 2009; McCombs, Kirby, & Mariano 2009; Allensworth, 2004; Roderick and Nagaoka, 2005; Greene and Winters 2004, 2007). (5) Providing adequate funding and monitoring from the district and state level (Berman and McLaughlin, 1978; McCombs, Kirby, & Mariano, 2009; Marsh et al., 2006, 2009). [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii