Next Generation Science Standards Update: Looking Forward to 2014
Posted: Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
by Jessica Sawko
2014 will be a very busy year for the Next Generation Science Standards in California. On November 6, 2013, the State Board of Education took action on the issue of the middle school learning progression that they had left undecided at their September 2013 meeting. Their decision was to accept the revised recommendation that California adopt the integrated model as developed by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) as the preferred model for California middle grades science instruction, and to reconvene the SEP to develop a discipline specific model based on the domain specific model in Appendix K. The SEP is meeting on December 4 and 5 to begin this task. Once the SEP completes their work (estimated March 2014) school districts will be able to evaluate both – and choose between the integrated and discipline-specific models based on which they think will best serve their students. No further State Board action will be required to adopt the alternative discipline-specific arrangement. I encourage you to read NGSS for Middle Grades: Tips for Implementation – Step 1, Don’t Rush for tips and information.
2014 will bring a number of opportunities for science teachers to become involved in the NGSS implementation process:
Curriculum Framework Focus Group Meetings
The Curriculum Framework Focus Groups discuss several questions designed to provide guidance to the writers of the new science curriculum framework. Even if you are not selected to be a focus group member, all focus group meetings are open and public comment is welcome at the conclusion of the the focus group discussion. A draft list of questions focus group discussion is available online. (Please note: this draft list of questions is currently being revised, a finalized list of questions will be available in January). If you would like to provide input but are not able to attend a meeting in person, you may send you comments via email by February 18, 2014 (instructions on how to do so will be available when the final questions are released). Pending State Board approval in January, the focus group meetings will be held:
- Saturday, January 25, 2014, 10 a.m.–noon, Exploratorium, San Francisco
- Thursday, January 30, 2014, 5–7 p.m, San Diego County Office of Education
- Friday, January 31, 2014, 4:30–6:30 p.m, Orange County Department of Education
- Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 4–6 p.m, CDE, Sacramento, Video Conference Included (Siskiyou, Shasta, Humboldt)
- Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 4–6 p.m, Fresno County Office of Education
Curriculum Framework Writing
Curriculum frameworks provide guidance to teachers, administrators, and parents on how a standards-based curriculum is implemented in the classroom. Pending approval of the proposed development timeline by the State Board of Education at its January 15-16, 2014 meeting, recruitment for members of the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC) will begin in February 2014 and will last for 90 days, concluding in April 2014. Made up of 9 – 20 people, the CFCC will play a significant role in the revision of the Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Science Framework). The Science Framework will be revised to incorporate and support the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS) and to reflect current research in science instruction. The CFCC will provide input for the initial draft of the revised framework in accordance with the guidelines approved by the SBE. CSTA will send out information to members when the application is available.
Even if you are not able to commit your time to serving on the CFCC, you can still participate in the development process. Public comment periods on the draft science curriculum framework will take place in the summer and fall of 2015.
New State Science Assessments
While there is no timeline in place yet, stay tuned to CSTA for information about how to be involved in the development of new assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards. AB 484, will be enacted on January 1, 2014 and calls for the Superintendent to consult with stakeholders, including, but not necessarily limited to, California science teachers, individuals with expertise in assessing English learners and pupils with disabilities, parents, and measurement experts, regarding the grade level and type of assessment. The recommendations shall include cost estimates and a plan for implementation of at least one science assessment in each of the following grade spans:
(i) Grades 3 to 5, inclusive.
(ii) Grades 6 to 9, inclusive.
(iii) Grades 10 to 12, inclusive.
CSTA anticipates that work on the development of the new assessment recommendation will begin in 2014.
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.
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.
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…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
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…
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…