January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Are You Prepared to Participate in the Discussions?

Posted: Saturday, August 20th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

I recently found myself a participant in two separate conversations regarding topics of which all California teachers of Science should be knowledgeable.  One was in regards to the current status of the California Standards Tests (CSTs) and the other was in regards to High School course structures in light of the new California assessment for Science.  As many of us will attend district, school, and department meetings in preparation for the new school year, updating our knowledge about the most recent decisions that will affect California Science education will be time well spent.

California Standards Tests (CSTs)

gravityassessmentOn May 12, 2016, the State Board of Education approved the elimination of assessments based on the 1998 Science Content Standards assessments which includes the California Standards Tests, California Modified Assessment, and California Alternate Performance Assessment, and delegated authority to the State Board of Education President, Michael Kirst, along with State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, to submit a letter to the U.S. Department of Education requesting federal waiver authority to not double test or report individual student scores for the new CA NGSS summative assessments while conducting pilot testing and field testing.

Additional Resources:

NGSS Science Assessment

Correct logo- all three dimensions are “content!”

On March 9, 2016, the California State Board of Education (SBE) approved the grades for which the CA NGSS summative assessments will be administered and the development of three online CA NGSS summative assessments to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the California Education Code.  The assessment design includes:

  • Grade five assessment, consisting of grade five performance expectations and matrix sampling of performance expectations from kindergarten through grade four;
  • Grade eight assessment, consisting of middle school (grades six through eight) performance expectations;
  • Grade ten, eleven, or twelve assessment, consisting of high school performance expectations.

In addition, the SBE authorized the California Department of Education (CDE) to begin work with the testing contractor, Educational Testing Service, for the test design that has been proposed. The SBE also requested that the CDE propose a transition plan for ending the current CSTs as the work moves forward, and provide the SBE with updates.

Science Assessment Design Summary

Design Summary Table as presented by CDE on March 9, 2016. Table extracted from the item presentation file available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr16/documents/mar16item02slides.pdf

Design Summary Table as presented by CDE on March 9, 2016. Table extracted from the item presentation file available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr16/documents/mar16item02slides.pdf

Additional Resources:

  • California Classroom Science Article on California NGSS Summative Assessment Design Plan
  • March 2016 SBE Agenda  Item 2: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress: Approval of the Grades for Which the California Next Generation Science Standards Summative Assessments Will Be Administered.

Draft Science Framework for California Public Schools

The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) and the California State Board of Education (SBE) are currently holding the 2nd and last 60-day public review period of the Draft Science Framework for California Public Schools .  The public review period will continue through August 29, 2016. All comments should be submitted to scienceframework@cde.ca.gov . Comments may be submitted in any format, but if you are seeking revisions to the draft it is recommended that you include the chapter, page, and line number(s), the text as it is currently written in the draft, and the exact language of the suggested change.  The curriculum framework provides guidance for implementing the Next Generation Science Standards. Please consider providing input for one or more chapters or appendices.

Additional Resources:

Schedule of Significant Events for the Science Framework for California Public Schools

State Accountability Plan

LCAPThe California SBE is close to approving a statewide accountability plan for districts that evaluates district successes using multiple measures instead of an overall score reduced to a single number.  Districts and other stakeholders will be able to see in which areas they are excelling and those that need improvement.  On July 13, 2016, the SBE continued its discussion about the state and local measures of progress for California’s new school accountability system. In addition to scores on standardized tests in English and math, schools will be held accountable for students’ college and career readiness, proficiency for English learners, graduation rates, chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and school climate, basic conditions at a school, implementation of academic standards, and parent engagement.  

CSTA has been working diligently with the CDE and SBE to strategically and explicitly include Science education as part of the state’s accountability plan.  For the complete CSTA response to the July 13, 2016 SBE Agenda Item 2 Click Here.   Some of the recommendations include:

  • When they become available, the new statewide science assessment results should be incorporated into the state level indicators of student performance.
  • The high school science assessment should be incorporated into the College and Career Indicator (CCI) along with the grade 11 ELA and Math assessments.  
  • The inclusion of a K-8 measure of CCI and options relating to reporting on master schedules for elementary course taking as well as evidence of sufficient student outcomes across a broad course of study.

Additional Resources:

Be assured that CSTA will continue to keep its members updated on these and other issues as more information becomes available.  To discuss these topics with other educators across the state who are grappling with how they will affect their districts, schools, and classrooms, consider joining one of the CSTA Facebook groups.  Join a conversation, ask questions, or post a tip.


Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

One Response

  1. Lisa,

    Thanks for the article. It lays out the issues clearly for me and brings me right back up to date.


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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.



MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.