March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

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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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.

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.