Middle School Teacher Preparation : Hawaii

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation : Hawaii results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/HI-Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6

Analysis of Hawaii's policies

Hawaii requires middle school certification (grades 5-9) for all middle school teachers. The state does not explicitly require a major or minor in the subject areas that the candidates plan to teach.

All new middle school teachers in Hawaii are also required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure; a general content knowledge test is not an option.


Recommendations for Hawaii

Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Hawaii is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license. But the state should strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation by encouraging middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas. Middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.

State response to our analysis

Hawaii noted that middle-level teachers in all core middle-level subjects must pass the appropriate middle-level content examination in their core subject field. Teachers adding a middle-level core subject to an existing license may either submit the middle-level content test or 30 hours of coursework in the core subject.

Hawaii also reiterated that it does not issue a generalist license in middle-level education.

Research rationale

A report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) concludes that a teacher's knowledge of math makes a difference in student achievement. U.S. Department of Education. Foundation for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education (2008).

For additional research on the importance of subject matter knowledge, see Dee and Chodes, "Out-of-Field Teaching and Student Achievement; Evidence from Matched-Pairs Comparisons." Public Finance Review (2008); as B. Chaney, "Student outcomes and the professional preparation of 8th grade teachers," in NSF/NELS 88: Teacher transcript analysis (Rockville, MD: Westat, 1995); H. Wenglinsky, How Teaching Matters: Bringing the Classroom Back Into Discussions of Teacher Quality (Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2000). For information on the "ceiling effect," see D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "When should we reward degrees for teachers?" in Phi Delta Kappan 80, No. 2 (1998): 134-138.