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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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: Monday, March 27th, 2017
The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.
The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.
There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.
Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.
For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.
The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…