September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

California Requests Hearing on Double Testing Waiver Request

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

Today, the California Department and State Board of Education exercised its option to request a hearing on California’s request for a waiver to avoid double testing of students while the state develops its new science assessment (pilot to commence on March 20, 2017). In its request for a hearing, California requested to postpone the hearing until after the holiday season – rather than within the 30-day window as outlined in statute (which would mean the hearing would need to take place by December 29, 2016).

California re-applied for a waiver request in November 2016 and received a second rejection from the U.S. Department of Education. See U.S. Department of Education Denies 2nd Waiver Request – CA Officials Balk at Rejection and Affirms Commitment to Science Education for more information.

 

NGSS Rollout #4 Dates Announced – Registration Opens in 2017

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The next iteration of the NGSS Rollout series of professional learning events written and produced by a collaboration between the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance, and California Science Teachers Association will launch in May 2017 and will focus primarily on the new Science Curriculum Framework. Please mark your calendars for the following dates and locations and stay tuned to your email inbox for a notice when registration opens. (more…)

A Look Back at a Few Highlights of 2016

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

The California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs is now a memory. A huge thanks to Jill Grace, 2016 Conference Chair, her planning committee, CSTA staff, volunteers, presenters, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and CSTA members who made this year’s conference a huge success. Heather Wygant, 2017 Conference Chair is working to set up our first planning meeting for next year’s conference in Sacramento, CA. (more…)

California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

On November 3, 2016, the California State Board of Education (SBE) accepted the recommendation of the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to adopt the draft Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA Science Framework) with the IQC recommended edits from the second 60-day public review period (a pre-publication version of the Framework with the edits incorporated is expected to be released in the early part of 2017). California science educators have waited for this document since 2013 when the SBE adopted the California Next Generation Science Standards. However, now that the Framework is here, many are not sure how to use it effectively.

While members of the IQC, Science Curriculum Frameworks and Evaluation Criteria Committee (Science CFCC), and many members of the CDE and SBE have read the entire CA Science Framework, few others will read it cover to cover. Understanding the structure of the Framework and its intent will help readers get the most out of the document. (more…)

Apply Now Through Feb. 1 for Edison International’s $1.2 Million Scholarship Program

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

It pays to dream big and Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, through its $1.2 million Edison Scholars Program, is helping high school seniors with a passion for science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) achieve their academic goals.

Each year, Edison International awards $40,000 scholarships, paid over four years, to 30 high school students planning to major in STEM fields at four-year colleges and universities. Scholarship applications are now being accepted through Feb. 1.

Eligible students must live or attend a public or private high school in SCE’s service territory or attend an eligible high school surrounding SCE’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Visit scholarsapply.org/edisonscholars for a list of designated high schools.    (more…)

Science Pilot Tests: High School Grade Assignments Posted

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

From the December 2, 2016 CAASPP Update from the California Department of Education:

All LEAs will administer the pilot versions of the California Science Test (CAST) and California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science as part of the 2016–17 CAASPP administration. The pilots will include an assigned high school grade as well as grades five and eight. The high school grade assignments are now available on the CAASPP Portal High School Grade Assignments for 2016–17 Science Pilot Testing Web page.

Soon, the Test Operations Management System will include science test assignments for all students in grades five and eight and the assigned high school grade. The CAST is the default test assignment for students in grades five and eight and for high school students who are in the assigned grade at their school. The CAA for Science pilot test should be administered to any student in grade five, eight, or the assigned high school grade with an individualized education program that identifies them for alternate assessment and should be assigned to the CAA for Science pilot test. Instructions for assigning tests can be found in the TOMS Pre-Administration Guide for CAASPP Testing linked on the CAASPP Portal Manuals and Instructions Web page.

Questions about high school grade assignments for the science pilots and all other topics regarding the 2016–17 CAASPP administration should be directed to the California Technical Assistance Center by phone at 800-955-2954 or by e-mail at caltac@ets.org.

Defining Scientific Literacy for Informal Science Education

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

by Martin Smith, Steven Worker, Andrea Ambrose, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Kelley Brian, Emily Schoenfelder

Introduction

Scientific literacy is an important educational and societal goal (e.g., AAAS, 1990). Scientific literacy targets socially responsible and competent citizenry in that individuals should be able to participate in and contribute to a society (Hurd, 1998). While there is agreement that advancing scientific literacy among K-12 youth is important, measuring the construct has been problematic since there is no consensus about the meaning or the component parts of what it means to be scientifically literate (DeBoer, 2000). Although “a veritable deluge of definitions” (Roberts, 2007, p. 729) have been developed, historically, most definitions of scientific literacy have focused on generalized knowledge related to major science disciplines, principally content and processes germane to scientists (Roberts, 2007). These “within science” definitions represent a Vision I perspective of scientific literacy (Roberts, 2007). In contrast, a Vision II perspective focuses on situations positioned from the viewpoint of the citizen and concentrates on science-related issues or circumstances individuals may encounter in their lives. (more…)

U.S. Department of Education Denies 2nd Waiver Request – CA Officials Balk at Rejection and Affirms Commitment to Science Education

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

Updated December 15, 2016

On Tuesday, December 13, 2016 California received a response to its revised science testing waiver application. It was not the one California had hoped for. In its second attempt to obtain a double-testing waiver that would allow California to discontinue the administration of the CST and the suspension from calculating and reporting of student test scores for two years, California clearly outlined the rationale to support the waiver request. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) continued to cite the need to publish science test scores for students in the name of transparency and monitoring student progress. CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl expressed disappointment in the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) decision to deny the waiver request.

“As a 26-year veteran educating 8th graders in California, I am perplexed by the rationale provided by the DOE to continue outdated testing of outdated standards to students who live in a world that has evolved significantly in the last 18 years,” Hegdahl said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst released a joint statement in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of a waiver allowing California to suspend an outdated science assessment and instead give a modernized science test:

“We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of our waiver request. We reject their insistence that we double-test. We believe the denial of this request harms our students, who will be forced to study science based on state standards adopted in 1998 that are outmoded and not designed for the 21st century.” California educators know better than people in Washington, D.C., how best to serve our students. We have no time to waste when it comes to improving science education. California moves forward, not backward.” (more…)

Win a Trip to NSTA’s National Conference in LA this Spring

Monday, December 12th, 2016

NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education takes place March 30–April 2, 2017, in Los Angeles, California and you can win a free ride from NSTA and Southwest Airlines. Enter today to win one of six prizes (1 first-place winner gets airfare, registration, and hotel accommodations; 2 second-place winners get airfare and registration; and 3 third-place winners get airfare). Contest runs through December 22, and you can share with friends via social media to earn extra entries. Winners will be selected at random and notified via email on December 23—good luck!

CDE Now Hiring for Science Assessment Education Programs Consultant

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Interested in working at the California Department of Education? Would you like to be a part of developing the new statewide science assessment? Consider one of these two opportunities currently available in CDE’s Assessment Division. The division is currently in the process of great change in its assessment system as it focuses on comprehensive assessment systems that strive to improve teaching and learning in the state.

Science Assessment Education Programs Consultant

CAASPP Office Education Administrator II

NGSS Implementation: A Leap of Reason

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

by Jeff Schmitz

Any transformation in an organization, like a school or a district, can be a painstaking process of professional learning, creating buy-in, and fund sourcing. But the transformation swiftly gains momentum when individuals at the grassroots level begin jumping in with both feet. Our California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative Teacher Leaders in Vista Unified are starting to jump.

The jump is no mere leap of faith; it’s more like a “leap of reason.” Our Early Implementers spent time in the summer immersed in NGSS content and pedagogy under the tutelage of science education gurus from the K-12 Alliance and supporting institutions that include universities and other institutes of higher education. They also will participate in 2-day TLCs (Teaching Learning Collaborative) this academic year, lesson studies where NGSS-aligned lesson sequences are collaboratively planned, delivered, and evaluated for effectiveness. Consequently, Early Implementer teachers are developing a deeper understanding of how three-dimensional design, the 5E model of instruction, and phenomenon-based investigations align with how people learn. The NGSS makes sense to them, they are seeing how it makes better sense for students, and so it makes sense to make the leap. (more…)

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