March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

July 2014 California State Board of Education Recap – the Science Education Highlights

Posted: Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

by Jessica L. Sawko

On July 9 – 10, 2014, the California State Board of Education (SBE) held its regularly scheduled meeting. There were several topics on the agenda that were of interest to science educators and science education and CSTA attended both days to address those items.

New Science Assessment Development

Item 5 on the board’s agenda was the extension of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) contract with testing contractor Educational Testing Service (ETS). This contract extension includes many tasks for ETS including the administration of the science CSTs in the spring of 2015 and tasks for the development of new assessments in science aligned to the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Per the agreement ETS will assist CDE and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) in developing a recommendations report for new science assessment for consideration by the SBE. The report will include recommendations for the following areas:

  • Grade level, content, and type of assessment
  • Use of Consortium-developed assessments and various item types
  • Use of various assessment options, including, but not necessarily limited to, computer-based tests, locally scored performance tasks, and portfolios
  • Use of matrix sampling, if appropriate, and the use of population sampling
  • Timeline for test development, field testing, and operational implementation
  • Cost estimates for content areas, as appropriate

As a part of the scope of work, ETS will develop blueprints and item specifications for NGSS-based science assessments to meet federal requirement, both standard and alternate assessments. In addition, after approval of those documents, ETS will develop items for the federally required assessments.

CSTA made public comments with concerns about the seemingly limiting language (in terms of item type development) in the scope of work document, especially in advance of the science assessment stakeholder meetings which had not yet taken place. In addition, CSTA recommended that the contract be amended to include that ETS build from the work, guidance, and information provided in the NRC Report, Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards that was published earlier this year, in addition to the NAEP and ETS’s previous experience with the computer-based pilot science assessment they conducted in 2012.

ELA/ELD Framework

The SBE unanimously approved the ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework. The document, still requiring a number of finishing touches, is the first of its kind and is approximately 1,200 pages long. The framework provides support and guidance to teachers, parents, administrators, and instructional material providers on how to teach both the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy) and the California English Language Development Standards (CA ELD Standards). As stated in the Introduction to the framework (May-June 2014 draft, page 2, retrieved July 28, 2014):

This framework focuses on the teaching and learning of English literacy and language, which includes instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language and the use and development of these skills across the disciplines… 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.

CSTA and its members played an active role in reviewing, editing, and providing input during the writing process. CSTA conducted a document wide review of the first public draft, and focused its review of the second public draft on the science snapshots and vignettes included in the document, which portray the science teacher’s role in supporting the Common Core ELA and California ELD standards.

CSTA and other organizations made public comment requesting the removal of certain language for instructional materials regarding specifications for decodable text. Alas, this effort was not successful; however, the language that was adopted by the SBE had previously been modified during the ELA/ELD Subject Matter Committee meeting in late June. The final language adopted represented a compromise.

The ELA/ELD Framework provides chapters providing an overview of the standards, key considerations, grade level chapters for TK-1; 2-3; 4-5; 6-8; and 9-12, assessment, equity and access, learning in the 21st century, professional learning, instructional materials, resources, a glossary, and an appendix with a list of book resources for teachers.

NGSS Curriculum Framework

On day two of the State Board’s meeting, they approved the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee Guidelines and the appointment of the members to the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC). The CFCC will play a significant role in the revision of the Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Science Curriculum Framework). The Science Curriculum Framework will be revised to incorporate and support the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS), adopted by the SBE in September 2013, and to reflect current research in science instruction. The CFCC provides input into the initial draft of the revised framework in accordance with guidelines approved by the SBE.

CSTA applauds the 171 educators who applied to serve on this time intensive committee. Our congratulations to all 20 appointees, most especially the following members of CSTA:

  • Robert Sherriff (CFCC co-chair)
  • Juanita Chan
  • John Galisky
  • Susan Gomez-Zwiep
  • Nicole Hawke
  • Lisa Hegdahl
  • Stephanie Pechan
  • Anthony Quan
  • Jo Topps
  • David Tupper
  • Jeanine Wulfenstein

The next step in the Science Curriculum Framework development process will be meetings of the CFCC to review and provide input to the Framework writers. The meetings of the CFCC will take place in Sacramento at the California Department of Education (1430 N Street, Sacramento, CA)

September 9–10, 2014
October 9–10,2014
November 5–6, 2014*
December 11–12,2014
January 22–23,2015
February 26–27, 2015

If you would like to provide input but are not able to attend a meeting in person, you may send your comments via email to scienceframework@cde.ca.gov.

*The November CFCC meeting will take place at the State Library located at 900 N Street, Sacramento, CA.

Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Template

The final item that CSTA addressed at the July SBE meeting was CSTA’s recommendation for changes to the LCAP template language. CSTA recommended that the language on the template to provide guidance for districts when addressing Priority #2 be modified to make it clearer for districts that the priority address all standards, not simply the Common Core and ELD standards. See our call to action last month for more information.

Several dozen speakers addressed the SBE on the issue of the LCAP template. Only CSTA and one other organization addressed the board requesting greater emphasis for science in the LCAP template.

The next regular meeting of the State Board of Education will be September 3 – 4, 2014. If you would like to receive email notices when the State Board posts their agenda items, you can join their email list at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/sbefullagendamail.asp

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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CSTA Endorses March for Science

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.

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.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

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.

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

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…

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.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

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…

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.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

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…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.