The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Hawaii only offers secondary certification in the general field of "Science." Candidates are required to pass one of the following Praxis II tests: "Biology," "Chemistry," "General Science," "Physics" or "Physical Science." Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general science but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Middle school science teachers who opt for the middle grades certificate are commendably required to pass the Praxis II "Middle School Science" test.
Required Praxis Tests www.htsb.org/docs/Praxis_09_10.pdf
Require secondary science teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each science discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general science certifications or combination licenses across multiple science disciplines—and only require a general knowledge science exam—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Hawaii's required general assessment combines all subject areas (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many—perhaps all—chemistry questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach chemistry to high school students. The state's single-subject testing option could result in a teacher teaching physics, having only been tested in biology.
Hawaii acknowledged its general license in science and added that when the state reviews its license fields, it will take this issue into consideration.