January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

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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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.

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.

Opportunities to Support NGSS Implementation with CTC

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.

CSET Field Testing Opportunities

Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. 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…

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.