The state should ensure that its teacher preparation programs provide elementary teachers with a broad liberal arts education, the necessary foundation for teaching to the Common Core Standards.
Although Hawaii has adopted the Common Core Standards, the state does not ensure that its elementary teacher candidates are adequately prepared to teach the rigorous content associated with these standards.
Hawaii requires candidates to pass the Praxis II general elementary content test, which does not report teacher performance in each subject area, meaning that it is possible to pass the test and still fail some subject areas, especially given the state's low passing score. Further, based on available information on the Praxis II, there is no reason to expect the current version would be well aligned with the Common Core Standards.
Although Hawaii does not specify any general education coursework requirements or elementary teacher candidates, the state does articulate vague teacher performance standards, which include "demonstrates knowledge of content." Hawaii does not mention any specific subject-matter requirements, making it far too ambiguous to be meaningful for holding either programs or teachers accountable.
Hawaii also requires NCATE accreditation, suggesting that the state uses the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) standards for approving its elementary programs. However, ACEI standards fall far short of the mark by offering no mention of world and American history; world, British and American literature; American government; or grammar and composition. ACEI standards do mention important topics in science, but even in those areas, its standards consist mainly of extremely general competencies that programs should help teacher candidates to achieve.
Finally, there is no assurance that arts and sciences faculty will teach liberal arts classes to elementary teacher candidates.
Teacher Performance Standards http://www.htsb.org/html/details/teacherstandards/teacherstandards5.html Praxis II www.ets.org
Require a content test that ensures sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Hawaii should ensure that its subject-matter test for elementary teacher candidates is well aligned with the Common Core Standards, which represent an effort to significantly raise the standards for the knowledge and skills American students will need for college readiness and global competitiveness.
The state should also require separate passing scores for each content area on the test because without them it is impossible to measure knowledge of individual subjects. Further, to be meaningful, Hawaii should ensure that these passing scores reflect high levels of performance.
Provide broad liberal arts coursework relevant to the elementary classroom.
Hawaii should either articulate a more specific set of standards or establish comprehensive coursework requirements that are specifically geared to the areas of knowledge needed by PK-6 teachers. Further, the state should align its requirements for elementary teacher candidates with the Common Core Standards to ensure that candidates will complete coursework relevant to the common topics in elementary grades. An adequate curriculum is likely to require approximately 36 credit hours in the core subject areas of English, science, social studies and fine arts.
Require at least an academic concentration.
An academic concentration, if not a full academic major, would not only enhance Hawaii teachers' content knowledge, but it would also ensure that prospective teachers have taken higher-level academic coursework. Further, it would provide an option for teacher candidates unable to fulfill student teaching or other professional requirements to still earn a degree.
Ensure that arts and sciences faculty teach liberal arts coursework.
Although an education professor is best suited to teach effective methodologies in subject instruction, faculty from the university's college of arts and sciences should provide subject-matter foundation.
Hawaii noted that it has adopted the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards, and preparation programs will be required to integrate these standards into their programs by July 1, 2013. The state added that according to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), these new standards align with national and state standards, including the Common Core State Standards for students in mathematics and English language arts, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards' accomplished teaching core principles, NCATE's accreditation standards and the National Staff Development Council (NSDC) professional development standards, as well as the Interstate School Leader Licensure Consortium (SLLC) 2008 Policy Standards and CCSSO's companion document Performance Expectations and Indicators for Educational Leaders.
Hawaii also pointed out that in 2011-2012, it will review the new Praxis II "Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects" test, which will provide separate core-subject score reports.
The state added that it requires preparation programs to attain either NCATE or TEAC accreditation and recognizes and accepts standards of the national specialty professional associations such as ACEI.
Further, Hawaii noted that most teacher candidates are enrolled in alternate route programs and enter at the post-baccalaureate or graduate level, already possessing a bachelor's degree. These candidates receive broad preparation in essential knowledge at the undergraduate level prior to admission to preparation programs.
NCTQ commends the efforts of states, like Hawaii, that have advocated for a new elementary education test from ETS. Requiring subscores for each of the content areas is a significant step toward ensuring that all elementary teachers possess the requisite knowledge for the classroom. NCTQ looks forward to reviewing Hawaii's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.