CSTA Represents CA Science Teachers as IQC Moves to Advance ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework to State Board of Education; Gets Preview of Focus Group Report
Posted: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
by Jessica Sawko
On Friday, March 28, 2014 the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) met to consider the draft of the ELA/ELD curriculum framework and to receive updates on various other matters including progress on the revision of the science curriculum framework. The IQC Science Subject Matter Committee received their update by Bryan Boyd, Education Programs Consultant in the Instructional Resources Unit of the California Department of Education. Boyd is a CSTA member and was a middle school science teacher in the classroom up until 2013. He provided a recap of the progress made to date on the revision of the Science Curriculum Framework, which included a brief report on the early themes that are emerging as the committee works to compile the information gathered during the focus groups that were held around the state in January and February 2014. These early themes include:
- Explanation of the standards
- Support for elementary
- Modeling- what does this mean in the CA NGSS?
- Middle Grades Progressions
- High school progressions
- Resources and support for implementation
- Education and Environment Initiative (EEI)
The complete report will be submitted to the IQC for approval for submission to the State Board of Education at their May 15-16, 2014 meeting. At that meeting the IQC will also select members of the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC) for approval by the State Board. Applications for the CFCC are due April 18, 2014 (a two day extension was granted due to a technical problem last week). The CFCC must be made up of a majority of in-classroom science educators. CSTA members are strongly urged to apply. Boyd reported that to date 58 applications had been received. However, a much larger pool of applicants is needed in order to insure a diverse and robust committee.
The bulk of the IQC’s March 28 meeting was spent on the English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Subject Matter Committee meeting. This committee was charged with reviewing the public comments that had been received during the first public comment period for the draft ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework, and incorporating that feedback into the revision of the draft Framework as appropriate. CSTA organized several group review meetings January 2014 and subsequently submitted comments on behalf of those group reviewers. The feedback provided by CSTA and the public in general was largely well received by the ELA/ELD Subject Matter Committee. CSTA was present to represent the voices of science teachers throughout that day as well as at the previous ELA/ELD Subject Matter Committee meeting on March 7, 2014). With the support of the newest IQC member Robert Foster, (a middle school science teacher), and Lori Freiermuth, (a math teacher and current chair of the IQC science subject matter committee), and other commissioners, CSTA was successful in making improvements in several areas of the draft document. Among these will be the creation of separate chapters for middle grades and high school grades, more inclusion of references to the role of hands-on science in the development of literacy, and improved and enhanced snapshots and vignettes that include references to both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.
Chapter 1 of the draft ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework does a good job succinctly describing the role this document will play in California public schools:
This framework focuses on the teaching and learning of English literacy and language across the disciplines [emphasis added]. The CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy and the CA ELD Standards define what students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level or span (and, in the case of the CA ELD Standards, English language proficiency levels). The English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework for California Public Schools: Transitional Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (ELA/ELD Framework) provides direction for the implementation of the standards in the context of the most diverse state in the nation and the demands of the twenty-first century. It includes guidance for the design of instructional materials, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional learning with the purpose of ensuring that the range of California’s learners benefit optimally and achieve their highest potentials.
The framework has two primary audiences: (1) educators, and (2) developers and publishers of curriculum programs and materials. Because proficiency in the language arts (reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language) is crucial for success in every discipline, the ELA/ELD Framework is relevant to all educators of transitional kindergarten through grade twelve and to publishers of programs and materials for every subject matter [emphasis added]. Educators will use this framework along with the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy and CA ELD Standards as a road map for curriculum and instruction. (Source: December 2013 Draft ELA/ELD Framework, Retrieved March 31, 2014)
As at previous IQC meetings, CSTA was once again the only organization present to represent science educators. I thank the many volunteers who contributed to the review of the document, as well as the support of the CSTA membership at large. Your voices could not have been represented at these meetings without your continued support.
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…