January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

CDE Reveals and State Board Approves California’s NGSS Summative Assessment Design Plan

Posted: Monday, March 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl and Jessica Sawko

After many months of collaboration with NGSS experts, assessment experts, other NGSS-adoption states, CSTA, science teachers, its testing contractor Educational Testing Service (ETS), and other stakeholders, the California Department of Education (CDE) presented its proposed design plan for the California Next Generation Science Standards General Summative Assessment. After approximately two hours of presentation and discussion, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the design plan – allowing the development process to proceed on schedule toward the target of operational assessments in 2018/2019. The full proposal can be accessed from the agenda posted on the State Board of Education website – look for Item 2. A summary of the plan is posted on the CSTA website at http://www.cascience.org/csta/ngss_assessment.asp.

Michelle Center, Director Assessment Development and Administration Division for (CDE) and ETS representatives Dr. Jim Pellegrino and Dr. Kathleen Scalise provided a thorough presentation (click here to view a video of the board presentation, click Item 2) to the State Board. California Science Teachers Association Executive Director, Jessica Sawko, and President, Lisa Hegdahl, represented the CSTA membership at this important meeting and provided public comment in support of the Plan.

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

During her presentation, Center pointed out the CA NGSS Assessment Design Goals which are to:

  • Emphasize importance of group-level results to promote improvements to teaching and learning. (The design plan calls for an assessment in three segments, A, B, and C: Segments A & B will contribute to both individual student and group scores; Segment C will contribute only to group scores).
  • Provide models of high quality, CA NGSS-aligned assessment items.
  • Create incentives for schools to provide science instruction in every grade, not just in tested grades. (For the 5th grade assessment, Segments A & B will assess 5th grade performance expectations (PEs), Segment C will assess PEs from K-5. The 8th grade assessment will assess PEs from the 6 – 8 grade span in all three segments. The high school assessment will assess PEs from the high school grade span in all three segments.)
  • Measure the range and depth of NGSS performance expectations by leveraging the state’s distinctly large student population.
  • Minimize testing time and costs. (The design plan calls for a 2 – 2.5 hour assessment)
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And the CA NGSS Design Features:

  • Assessment design measures the range and depth of CA NGSS performance expectations (PEs) over a three year cycle.
  • Assessment items, generated by evidence-centered design based task models, will assess the three dimensions of NGSS. (Every item will assess a CA NGSS DCI and at least one of the other two CA NGSS dimensions: one SEP or one crosscutting concept (CCC). Wherever possible, all three dimensions will be assessed within a single item; however, leading NGSS experts agree that this will not always be practical.)
  • Design makes use of a diverse range of item types.
  • Both independent items as well as item sets are used.
  • This is a computer-based, two-stage adaptive assessment.
  • Uses partial matrix sampling of content
  • Group level feedback while ensuring individual student performance is measured fairly and comparably
  • Administered at grades five, eight and grade ten, eleven, or twelve.
  • The assessment is designed to be administered in two hours or less.

On March 10, 2016 Anthony Quan of the Los Angeles County Office of Education hosted a webinar on the NGSS assessment design plan. He invited CSTA’s executive director Jessica Sawko to participate in the webinar. This webinar has been archived and is available online.

A question and answer period following the CDE/ETS presentation of the assessment design plan revealed additional information which included:

  • This assessment plan does not include information about alternative assessments, however the funding for development of those assessments is included in the current contract with ETS.
  • The purpose of the 2017 Pilot Assessment will be to gather information on assessment items, not to generate scores. Grades other than those designated for assessment administration in the plan may also be asked to participate in the pilot.
  • Ultimately this summative assessment plan, while it does meet the requirements for the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was developed to meet the needs of California students.
  • Information on how a high school student is progressing in science will be available the year they take the assessment whether it is in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, however, the scores will be ‘banked’ and reported for ESSA purposes during the student’s senior year.

In a letter to the SBE, as well as during public comment, CSTA encouraged the SBE to approve the plan and offered further collaboration with the State Board, CDE, and ETS as the work to develop the new CA-NGSS Summative Assessments progresses and are ultimately implemented.

This is an exciting step forward in the implementation process. CSTA will keep its members up to date on information as it becomes available. It is only with the support of members that CSTA is able to maintain its work in NGSS implementation – we thank our members for their support. If you are not currently a member of CSTA, please consider joining today.

Lisa Hegdahl is president of CSTA and an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School. Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s executive director.

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.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.