NGSS Blog – Two Things
by Pete A’Hearn
If you really want to get a leg up on the Next Generation Science Standards, then the place to be is the California Science Education Conference October this October 19th to 21st in San Jose. The keynote speaker on Friday will be Dr. Helen Quinn, who is heading up the whole NGSS effort. There will also be a series of workshops for those looking to learn more about the NGSS. A Common Core State Standards strand will be offered as well, and those of you who have been closely following this blog know that there are some strong parallels between the two sets of standards.
Register for the conference at http://www.cascience.org/csta/conf_registration.asp.
Secondly, if you were one of those who participated in the public review of the NGSS in May and were wondering what happened to your feedback, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the California state reviewers (there are 70) and got some insights.
There were 30,000 public notes submitted on the standards. The ones that gave specific and meaningful feedback were given to the authors of that standard set. Vague comments like, “I don’t like this,” or “this is awesome,” were ignored.
After the public review, there were review sessions held by professional college faculty groups like the American Physical Society, in which reviewers were asked if the standards prepared students for college. The reviewer I spoke to was not aware if industry groups assessed the standards for career readiness. I certainly hope they were, since these standards are supposed to be “college and career readiness standards.”
In addition, the reviewer I spoke to was aware of some specific changes that were made due to the feedback. In one public review meeting I attended, the high school chemistry teachers were pretty upset that there was no stoichiometry in the chemistry standards. They felt like this was critical preparation for college chemistry. According to the reviewer, stoichiometry was added back into the standards as a result of public feedback. At the elementary level, there was a reduction in the number of standards to allow for more depth and focus, also as a result of feedback.
For those of you who had a hard time with the somewhat clunky language of the standards, the basic format is unchanged. I find that the more I work with them the easier they are to interpret. I wouldn’t want to have to write some of them on a board and read them to first graders as is required by some administrators, but that can be dealt with.
Overall, I’m happy to see that the feedback is being used to improve the standards and an excited to see the next draft, which should come out sometime in November. CSTA will be providing information on a public review session in your area!
One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is the opportunity to be recommended by CSTA to serve on important state-level committees. One such opportunity is now available. CSTA is seeking science teachers to recommend for service on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), formerly the Curriculum Commission. This committee is charged with writing the curriculum frameworks for the Common Core ELA and math standards and will be tasked with developing the framework for the new science standards (once adopted). Members of the Commission serve without compensation, except that they receive their actual and necessary travel expenses in attending Commission meetings and participating in other Commission activities (airfare, lodging, meals, shuttle service, mileage, parking). No funding is provided for substitute teaching or administrative personnel; each applicant employed by a local education agency must obtain the agency’s acknowledgement of the application and the agency’s agreement to absorb any costs for substitute personnel.
CSTA is seeking a member science educator with experience with integrating literacy and math skills into science instruction. A familiarity with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards is preferred. If you meet these qualifications and would like to have your name considered, please contact CSTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-979-7004. Please include a copy of your resume and/or a description of your qualifications.
The California State Library invites you to view our online June calendar that highlights four women who have achieved success in STEM-related fields in California. These women and their accomplishments have helped pave the way for future generations.
One such woman is Hattie Scott Peterson, an African American civil engineer who became the first female engineer for the Sacramento district of the Army Corps of Engineers in 1954. She started with the Corps at a time when cultural diversity in the workplace was not common. Her work ethic and personal integrity helped her to overcome the challenges she faced. In the late 1940s she was reputed to be the only female African American civil engineer in the United States.
This monthly calendar is a joint effort of the State Library, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and the California Department of Education.
View the calendar here: http://www.library.ca.gov/calhist/calendar6-1.html?utm_source=csl0613
You Are Invited to Participate in an Online Survey Regarding Possible Changes to the High School Academic Performance Index:
In response to state legislation, the California Department Education (CDE) currently is developing new indicators to include in the high school Academic Performance Index (API).
To help with this important task, the CDE invites administrators, teachers, parents or guardians, students, school board members, educational organizations, community members, and business leaders to take an online survey located on the CDE API Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/.
CSTA encourages you to take about 20 minutes to complete the survey and let CDE know the vital role that science takes in preparing students for college and career and how achievement in science should be given a high value in the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator. The survey closes June 20, 2013 – please act today. Please encourage your colleagues, students, parents of students, and administrators to complete the survey as well.
For more information about revisions to the API, including the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator, please view the video that was prepared by CDE staff as background material for the survey.
Comparing AP Science Practices, Common Core State Standards, and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
by Bethany Dixon
At NSTA San Antonio and again at the California State Science Fair, I fell into a conversation about connecting NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and AP Biology Science Practices 1-7. In the past few years, ideas have converged on what it looks like to “Do Science:” the habits of mind necessary to develop scientific knowledge. This idea isn’t new to science education – scientific skills are still important. Haven’t we seen this before? We called it using the Scientific Method(s), or Levels of Inquiry, or whichever wrapper we’re putting things into… it doesn’t seem like the ideas of what constitute good science have changed. Or have they? Learn More…
by Lisa Hegdahl
The students are gone, the meetings are over, your classroom is clean – Learn More…