March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

The First Steps for New Science Assessments Are Underway

Posted: Monday, August 4th, 2014

by Jessica L. Sawko

One group of stakeholders after two long days of discussions. This group included science teachers K-12, university educators, a parent representative, an industry representative (Janet Auer of Chevron), and CSTA Executive Director Jessica Sawko.

One group of stakeholders after two long days of discussions. This group included science teachers K-12, university educators, a parent representative, and an industry representative.

Approximately 200 science stakeholders participated in one of two two-day meetings in Sacramento on July 15-18, 2014. These stakeholder meetings were outlined and required in AB 484 as a part of the process to develop a plan for statewide assessments aligned to NGSS for California. CSTA was pleased to be a part of the process and recommended over 90 members for participation. Information about how many members actually participated is not available; however, there were many familiar faces at both meetings. CSTA applauds all the participants for taking two days away from their home, work, and families to participate in the meetings.

Educational Testing Services (ETS) facilitated the meetings. The large group was broken into smaller work groups to discuss, deliberate, evaluate, and ultimately make recommendations regarding

  • the grades in which science should be assessed;
  • what standards should be assessed (in other words, should a hypothetical grade 5 assessment assess only 5th grade standards or some or all of the earlier grades as well);
  • which years should the statewide assessments be used for federal accountability;
  • which types of assessments would best assess science learning for English learners;
  • and what types of items and test formats should be used.

It is important to note that no decisions were made at this meeting and the two meetings worth of recommendations will be compiled and analyzed. There will be an opportunity for the public at large to provide input into the assessment plan recommendation. ETS will be conducting an online survey (expected in the coming weeks). CSTA will send out a notification when the survey is available.

There are many possible next steps and the timeline is not firm. Probable next steps are:

  • CDE and ETS will compile the information gathered during the stakeholder meetings.
  • CDE, ETS, and CDE’s TAG will evaluate that information and other sources of information and develop a recommendation for the SSPI (State Superintendent of Public Instruction).
  • The SSPI will consider this recommendation and develop a proposal for the SBE (State Board of Education) to consider for the federally required science assessments to become a part of CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress). When this proposal will be presented to the SBE is to be determined. It could be as early as this fall; however, the legislation (AB 484) does not have a firm deadline.
  • The SSPI will provide a recommendation for science assessment (and other subjects) other than those required for federal compliance by March 2016 (per AB 484).

Stay tuned to CSTA and California Classroom Science for more information as this process develops and moves forward. In the meantime, if you are wondering which science assessments your students will be taking this spring…they will be the grade-level CST, CAPA, and CMA science assessments administered in grades 5, 8, and 10 until new tests aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards are implemented.

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.

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CSTA Endorses March for Science

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.

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.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

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.

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

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…

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.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

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…

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.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

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…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.