The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: UH Mānoa Students Test High on Culture
HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor “Paradise of the Pacific,” which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at February 1946.
It comes as a surprise to many—but not this magazine—that students at the University of Hawai‘i, which has been around for less than 40 years, score comparatively well on an American Council on Education culture test.
The 1944-45 freshmen were tested on “current social problems, history and social studies, literature, science, fine arts, and mathematics,” writes Paradise, and scored one point lower than their Mainland counterparts, which translates to being “less than one month behind mainland students in general culture.” An unnamed local newspaper reporter “could hardly believe it,” Paradise quotes, so the paper made the story less prominent.
“The public judges the culture of Hawaii’s young people by how well they express what they know, by their English, by their dress, and by their manners. However, the American Council on Education views culture rather differently,” the magazine says. “The Council’s test doesn’t know how the students examined pronounce English words, nor whether they prefer going barefoot to wearing shoes.” And they achieved this “favorable scoring” with twice as many female students as male, who tend to score higher. On top of that, “the local Teachers College students ranked a half year above the mainland average—in spite of the fact that women outnumbered men ten to one. … Therefore, the teachers now entering the public school system in the Territory might be expected to be at least as good as, if not superior to those on the Mainland.”
The 2021 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s education rankings put UH at No. 170 out of 388 national universities; the College of Education is No. 69 out of 255.
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