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Hawaii Education Q&A: Why don't all public schools have midterms and final exam weeks?


Some public high schools in Hawaii don't have midterm and final exam weeks.

photo: david croxford

For more than a decade, HONOLULU Magazine has critically examined public education in Hawaii. As part of this year’s coverage, associate editor Tiffany Hill sat down with Kathryn Matayoshi, the state Department of Education superintendent, and Don Horner, the Board of Education chair, two of the most influential people in Hawaii’s public education system.

The questions for this exclusive, video Q&A come from both the magazine staff and the public, and touch on a variety of subjects, such as what the department and board are doing to reverse negative public perceptions, how teacher evaluations will work, whether or not Matayoshi and Horner sent their children to public school and more.

Below is a bonus question not included in the video. To hear more, watch the video here. Read this year’s public education feature here. Visit honolulumagazine.com for additional education coverage.

Q: This question is from Layna in Honolulu. She asks: Some public high schools have midterms and final exam weeks, and some do not. Why?

A: Kathryn Matayoshi: Well, part of it is that every school has the ability to set their own schedules. It’s a strength, because they get to tailor them to programs at the school, and it’s a weakness in the sense that we don’t have a consistent schedule across the state. That becomes more difficult when we look at opportunities like distance learning; classes need to start at the same time … So, we are looking at how to become more consistent on the scheduling. But again, a lot of those decisions are left to principals as the education leaders of their schools.


Want to read more of our education coverage from May 2012? Check out the links below.

A Tale of Two Schools in Hawaii

Video Q&A with Don Horner and Kathryn Matayoshi

From Iolani School to Moanalua High School: A Parents’ Tale

Q&A: How is the DOE helping poor-performing schools?

Q&A: What do schools have in place to ensure communication with parents?

Q&A: Why don't student representatives get a vote?

Q&A: Kamehameha Schools Focuses on Public Schools Along the Waianae Coast


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