March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

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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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.

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California Science Teachers Association

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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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Marian Murphy-Shaw

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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.