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Student Perceptions: A Catalyst for Improving Hawaii’s Schools


"It has been a pleasure working with the Cambridge Education Team. They have been extremely responsive to the needs of the Hawaii teachers, schools and Complex Areas."

Sherilyn Lau

Hawaii Department of Education


In 2011, educators in Hawaii decided to pilot a student perception survey program to better understand the perspectives of their students. Creating a state-wide program will always present challenges, but the distance between the Hawaiian Islands, and a diverse student body that speaks over a dozen languages made this project uniquely complicated.


The Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) partnered with Cambridge Education, a leader in the field of student surveys, to design and implement the program. Because the use of student perception surveys was a new concept in 2011, Cambridge Education understood how important it was to pilot the surveys, vet the process, and gather feedback to ensure the survey administration process could be easily rolled out state-wide. Finally in the 2013-2014 school year HIDOE’s Educator Effectiveness System was fully implemented and Cambridge Education successfully administered student perception surveys with each school and each teacher in Hawaii.


Five years later, through a strong partnership with Cambridge Education, student perception surveys are the cornerstone of HIDOE’s Teacher Effectiveness System – providing continuous actionable data for improving teacher effectiveness and student outcomes. 256 schools and over 13,000 teachers across the state participated twice in 2013-2014 and the data and reports delivered to the state were incorporated into teacher’s evaluation scores, and provided to teachers to give them feedback from their own students. Given the diverse student population in Hawaii, Cambridge Education and HIDOE worked together to translate the student survey into 13 languages, to provide each and every student in the state the opportunity to complete the survey in their home language. Through the five years of partnership with HIDOE, Cambridge Education has been able to support the state to build capacity and administer a combination of over 250,000 online and paper surveys and provide reports to over 13,000 educators each year.

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