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)
On 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.
- California Classroom Science Article – summarizes waiver request.
- May 2016 Agenda (Item 8) Every Student Succeeds Act: Request a Waiver Under Title I, Part A, Section 8401 to Waive Double Testing of Science Requirement.
- Draft Minutes of the May SBE Meeting.
NGSS Science Assessment
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
- 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 email@example.com . 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.
Schedule of Significant Events for the Science Framework for California Public Schools
State Accountability Plan
The 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.
- SBE Agenda July 2016 – See Item 2:Developing a New Accountability System: Update on the Local Control Funding Formula…
- Ed Source Article “As deadline looms, California struggles to finalize new school accountability system”
- California Classroom Science Article regarding California’s new accountability system
- SBE News Release “Multiple Measures and Continuous Improvement Define New Accountability System”
- SBE News Release “Board Sets Balance of State and Local Measures to Hold Schools Accountable”
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.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…