Hawaii Race to the Top Evaluation
The Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative, part of the larger federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided an unprecedented amount of federal competitive grant funding to push educational systems toward innovation through the use of coherent and comprehensive reforms. In August 2010, Hawaii became one of 12 winners of the RTTT competition, focusing its reforms on the areas of standards and assessment, data systems, effective teachers and leaders, and improvements in the lowest performing schools. These reforms are intended to work in concert to create better conditions for learning, better instruction for all students, and, ultimately, better opportunities for students in college and career.
AIR is conducting a rigorous mixed-method evaluation for the state of Hawaii, addressing to what extent the state’s RTTT program has been implemented as planned and is meeting its key benchmarks, especially for RTTT resource usage and participation. AIR evaluators are analyzing which changes in policy and professional practice have been associated with implementation as well as the resulting impact on student performance. The evaluation relies on on an array of data collection methods, including: interviews with key stakeholders, surveys of teachers and principals, review of documentation, and case studies. In addition, to measure the effect of Hawaii’s RTTT initiative, AIR is using an interrupted time series model to measure changes in student performance. AIR is providing timely, actionable information to the state of Hawaii, supporting continuous improvement and enabling RTTT leaders, participants, and stakeholders to judge the value and worth of the initiative and its components.