January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Considerations for Equitable NGSS High School Curriculum Implementation

Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

by Jenna Porter & Rich Hedman

Over the next few years, school districts throughout California will need to decide which curriculum course model to adopt for high school science.  Unlike middle school, for which there are two relatively straightforward course models (preferred integrated and alternative discipline specific), high schools will have more than 4 distinct course model options (see Table 1).  Which model would be best for high schools in your district?  To assist you in answering that question, we offer some resources and points to consider, and make a recommendation for providing equitable opportunities for all students to access the new science curriculum.

While the draft California Science Framework seems to show preference for high school course models A and B (by fully describing these models in Chapter 7), and to some extent course model C (described in the Appendix), California Ed Code allows local education agencies to make these curricular decisions. Therefore, other options exist, such as model D, described in Appendix K of NGSS, and model E, a customized model based on the NGSS documents.

Table 1.  Summary of High School Course Model Options

Porter_Hedman_Table1

Click table to view larger image.

Notes:

  • All courses in each model embed Engineering, Technology, and Application of Science standards
  • The sequence of courses in each model is not mandated

In order to reach a consensus recommendation as to the best course model for your school district, we suggest that districts gather interested teachers and administrators, facilitated by knowledgeable local science education organizations (CSTA, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance, etc.) to critically analyze these different course models.  This decision-making group should also carefully consider the various implications, benefits, and restrictions of each. Some important factors to consider in choosing a course model are outlined in NGSS Appendix K.

-Advertisement-

-Advertisement-

We feel the most important factor to consider is, “All standards, All students”; one of the explicit goals of NGSS. Each of the course models meets the requirement “All standards.”  However, whether or not any given course model meets the “All students” requirement depends on other district policies, such as the minimum high school graduation requirement for science. If the district has a 2-year science graduation requirement (the minimum mandated by CA ed code), then none of the course models described above would meet the NGSS goal of “All standards, All students.”  Each course model requires a minimum of 3 years of science, while model B requires 4 years of science. Thus, the science course graduation policy limits each of the models in terms of allowing students to opt out (or be tracked out) of third or fourth year courses. This policy misalignment contributes to inequitable opportunities for some students to learn, and perpetuates existing achievement gaps in science for underserved populations. A recently published Policy Brief addresses these issues, and explicitly identifies benefits and limitations for implementing course models A, B, and C (above), as well as highlights the need for consistent curriculum, policy, and practice so that equity in science education can be reached.

To achieve the NGSS goal of “All standards, All students,” we highly recommend that California school districts adopt a 3-year science graduation requirement.  If the NGSS are intended to improve science education and prepare all students for college and career, it cannot be done effectively or equitably if only two years of science are required for high school graduation. The adoption of NGSS has the potential to transform science education. But the effective implementation of NGSS will depend on how well school districts address factors specifically related to providing equitable opportunities for All students to learn science. These must be considered before curriculum decisions for course models can be made. We are hopeful that you become knowledgeable about the implications each of these course models hold for students, and that you actively engage in the development and implementation of equitable course models for your school district.

Rich Hedman is the Director of the Center for Math and Science Education (MASE), CSU Sacramento. Jenna Porter is an Assistant Professor at CSU Sacramento; College of Education: Teaching Credentials.

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.

One Response

  1. Thanks for taking the time to writing this. It is quite the topic of conversation on the Facebook page – California High School Science Teachers.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

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.

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.

Opportunities to Support NGSS Implementation with CTC

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.

CSET Field Testing Opportunities

Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. 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…

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.