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.
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
November 5–6, 2014*
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 email@example.com.
*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
Posted: Thursday, January 26th, 2017
California Alternate Assessment for Science Training Sample Is Here!
The training test for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science is now available on the CAASPP Portal CAAs Web page! This training test is the same type of embedded performance task (PT) that will be administered during this year’s pilot CAA for Science. Designed to be administered one on one, the training test PT is nonsecure and for use in preparing for the pilot CAA for Science.
The training test is aligned with the grade five California Next Generation Science Standards but can be used by students in any of the tested grades to familiarize both educators, students, parents, and stakeholders with the testing format of the pilot. The CDE is preparing a letter for LEAs to use to inform parents about this innovative test and the availability of the training test. Learn More…
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!
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…
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…
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.