January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Science Subject Matter Committee Considers Your Comments

Posted: Monday, March 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

On Friday, February 19th, the Instructional Quality Commission’s (IQC) Science Subject Matter Committee (SMC) met to discuss the field results from the first public review session of the draft California Science Framework.  The committee considered all of the over 2,000 suggested edits and revisions. As mentioned in February’s California Classroom Science, the California Science Teachers Association’s NGSS Committee sent in comments from 625 people who attended 30 Framework review sessions across California. Other organizations that submitted recommendations included Achieve, California Department of Education, Children Now, Code.org, and Lawrence Hall of Science. The meeting, held at the California Department of Education in Sacramento, was attended by, among others:

  • Lauryn Wild, Commission IQC Chair
  • Rob Foster, Science SMC Chair
  • Dean Reese, Science SMC Vice Chair
  • Science SMC Members – Jocelyn Broemmelsiek, Soomin Chao, Lizette Diaz, Lori Freiermuth, Bill Honig, and Jennifer Woo
  • Thomas Adams, IQC Executive Director
  • Cliff Rudnick, Interim Director, Curriculum Framework and Instructional Resources Division (CFIRD), CDE
  • Bryan Boyd, Education Programs Consultant, CFIRD, CDE
  • Ilene Straus and Trish Williams, State Board of Education Liaisons
  • Matt d’Alessio, current primary writer
  • Interested public members
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I attended this meeting on behalf the California Science Teachers Association and provided comments on several occasions in order to clarify particular requested revisions as well as offer suggestions as to how to address certain Science SMC concerns.  As can be imagined, many decisions were made as a result of the 8 hour discussion.  Below are outlined some of the changes the Science SMC will recommend for approval to the full IQC at their meeting on May 19-20, 2016.  

Vignettes:

  • one per grade level.
  • focus on 3-dimensional learning and making sense around phenomena.
  • the core ideas of life science, physical science and earth and space science vignettes will be spread across the grade spans as will engineering and the Environmental Principles and Concepts.
  • grades 6-8 will also have one vignette per grade level for each the preferred integrated model and the discipline specific model.
  • Some of the remaining vignettes will be shortened to snapshots while others will be placed in an appendix.
  • place performance expectations at the beginning of the vignettes so that teachers are of aware of what to look for as they read them.
  • use the vignettes to illustrate a variety of ways performance expectations will be reached – multiple choice, portfolios, performance tasks, to name a few.

Assessment and Student Learning – Chapter 8

  • the assessment chapter should focus on classroom assessment, not state assessments.
  • the committee, realizing that formative and summative assessments will evolve over time with our understanding of the CA NGSS, chose to focus the chapter revisions on providing a variety of assessment strategies to meet the performance expectations.  Teachers may use a variety of assessments to understand the sense making a student achieved around a particular phenomena.
  • Add an administrative summary at the beginning that will indicate that assessing NGSS will look different than the previous standards.

Combining Chapter 1 & 2

  • The Science SMC decided that Chapter 1: Introduction and Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the Next Generation of Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Twelve, does not give enough guidance as to the nature of NGSS.  After much thoughtful discussion, the Science SMC is going to recommend that the framework writer, Matthew d’Alessio, take the best parts of Chapter 1 and combine them with the content in Chapter 2: Overview of the California Next Generation of Science Standards.  He will determine where it is best to place the remaining portions of Chapter 1; they may possibly be in an appendix.

Computer Science in the Framework.  

  • K-5 will focus on basic computer skills.
  • 6-8 will introduce students to the use of computers to help investigate and solve science problems – computer simulations, analyzing data, etc.  
  • 9-12 will acquaint students with coding – how the programs that are used to assist scientists are created.
  • Any language that infers that computer science ‘has to’ be taught in science classes will be removed and replaced with language that suggests teachers ‘can’ use computer science to enhance their teaching of NGSS.

Other Revisions of Interest:

  • Words that describe specific facets of NGSS should only be used for that meaning.  For example, the word ‘modeling’ will only be used to mean modeling as in the Science and Engineering Practice, “Developing and using Models”.
  • Reintroduce acronyms the first time they are mentioned in any chapter.
  • Provide examples of ELD scaffolds throughout the framework
  • Provide samples from “Integrating ELD Standards into K‒12 Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning: A Supplementary Resource for Educators”.
  • Provide more examples of phenomena particularly at the elementary level.

Next Steps for the Science Framework Revision:

  • March 18, 2019 – Science SMC teleconference to review changes to revised chapters.
  • May 19-20, 2016 – Science SMC will submit their recommended edits and changes for the draft California Science Framework for approval to the full IQC.
  • June-July 2016 – Second 60-day public review and comment on IQC’s recommended Science Framework.
  • September/November 2016 – SBE action on IQC’s recommended Science Framework includes public hearing.

Keep reading California Classroom Science for updates on the progress of the Science Framework as well as specific dates for the second public review period this summer.

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

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!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units 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…

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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

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…

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.

Science Education Policy Update

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.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.