The state should ensure that middle school teachers demonstrate sufficient knowledge of appropriate grade-level content. This goal has been revised since 2017.
Content Test Requirements: Although Hawaii requires middle school certification (grades 6-8) for all middle school teachers, the state also utilizes five options for verifying content knowledge for licensure:
Test Requirement www.ets.org/praxis Hawaii Teacher Standards Board New Business Item (NBI) 12-29 (2017) Hawaii Administrative Rules 8-54-9.5
Require content testing in all core areas.
Hawaii should require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates in every core academic area they intend to teach as a condition of initial licensure. The state should set its passing scores to reflect high levels of performance to ensure meaningful middle school content tests. The state's policy allows teacher candidates to demonstrate content knowledge in ways that do not include the passage of a mathematics subtest. Relevant higher-level coursework provides the foundation for requisite content knowledge, but to ensure that teacher candidates possess sufficient mathematics subject-matter knowledge for the elementary classroom, Hawaii should require all teacher candidates to pass a rigorous test.
Hawaii asserted that the five options do require requisite content knowledge verification and cited ETS research, transcript analysis and educator preparation program verification.
3A: Middle School Content Knowledge
Middle school grades are critical years of schooling. It is in these years that far too many students fall through the cracks. However, requirements for the preparation and licensure of middle school teachers can be especially problematic. States need to distinguish the knowledge and skills needed by middle school teachers from those needed by an elementary teacher. Whether teaching a single subject in a departmentalized setting or teaching multiple subjects in a self-contained setting, middle school teachers must be able to teach significantly more advanced content than elementary teachers. In order to do so, middle school teachers must be deeply knowledgeable about every subject they will be licensed to teach, and able to pass a licensing test in every core subject to demonstrate this knowledge. The notion that someone should be identically prepared to teach first grade or eighth grade mathematics seems ridiculous, but states that license teachers on a K-8 generalist certificate essentially endorse this idea.