Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Revised science standards: Board of Ed

Sagan recommending that these standards not be voted today, but at least meeting
Commissioner: six year development cycle
first time since initial adoption that this has been done
review panel: representative of many organizations and perspectives
that then taken to Board (back in 2010)
then review panel helps draft revised standards
version on that then goes to Board for vote for public comment, which is where we are now

Peyser: think there's a sort of imbalance in standards like this get written. "seem to be all about the practice and not all about the content"
"it would not appear that a fair assessment would be, for example, 'explain gases changing state'..it would really be the model" being used rather than being able to explain in writing
response that paraphrase if you can model, you've got the explanation
"there's a lot that's assumed"
"not sure why you'd apply the standard" without the explanation
response that there needs to be some degree of interpretation and "we get decent consistency" when we check application
"intend that students be able to take what they know in terms of their practices and their knowledge" and apply it
things are changing so quickly that they need to be able to apply
Roach makes the distinction that this isn't a curriculum; it's a standard
Noyce: specifity increases as you go up through the grades
"at the elementary grades, the practice of doing science is more important" than the specifics of content
would be good to get feedback about this as comment is solicited
Q: how much time would you expect teachers to spend on science?
did a survey back in 2009, something on the order of an hour a week in elementary school, five hours a week in middle school, six hours a week in high school
Noyce: submit that the hour a week may have been reported by principals.
Willyard: teachers prefer a little more vagueness; can teach what they teach when they want to teach
teachers know what is in MCAS, but want to teach more on specific other things
don't want to see this become a curriculum, but stay as frameworks
Noyce: asks if this will allow them to do what you want or need to do
Peyser: echo these comments: issue that we're not sending out standards that are so broad, that it's unclear what we expect people to do
clear on what we think is most important: right direction and pedagogy
McKenna: applaud the direction: teachers' ability to be creative
some flexiblity in how to get there
"students who have come who have just sort of answered the question, don't remember it"
college is inquiry based, and "they don't know how to do it"
kind of learning "what we know from research people know and retain, not just know it and forget it"
"harder to teach, but definitely more effective"
Peyser: example where there's some reference to the math skills that are applied?
response: may have to do with genetics
comment that this level of public comment is not typical, but due to time has been possible
Noyce: what have we learned from other states that have adopted new (multi-state) standards?
response: some need for professional development, particularly around the practices
a lot of the content remains the same
ability to engage the students, make it relevant for these
note from DESE that funding for science professional development has "unfortunately" decline quite a bit over twenty years
Q from Peyser on changes in assessment:
yes, have started working on possible need for changes
"it is a challenge, there's certainly no question of that"
working on how to add an assessment on performance on that
"possibly if we go with PARCC" adding a performance assessment through technology
Peyser: would help to know both its form and its cost
Chester: the sophistication with which these standards are mapped both forward and backwards is 'just incredible"
attention to "learning progressions"

  1. Focus on deep understanding and application of concepts.
    The standards are focused on a small set of disciplinary core ideas that build across grades and lead to deep understanding and application of concepts. The standards are written to articulate the broad concepts and key components that specify expected learning. In particular, the disciplinary core ideas emphasize the principles students need to analyze and explain natural phenomena and designed systems that they experience in the world.
  2. Integration of disciplinary core ideas and practices reflects the interconnected nature of science and engineering.
    The standards integrate disciplinary core ideas (concepts) with scientific and engineering practices (skills). The integration of disciplinary core ideas and practices reflects how science and engineering is applied and practiced every day, is shown to enhance student learning of both, and results in rigorous learning expectations aligned with similar expectations in mathematics and English Language Arts standards.
  3. Preparation for post-secondary success in college and careers.
    The standards include science and engineering practices necessary to engage in scientific and technical reasoning, a key aspect of college and career readiness. The standards articulate key knowledge and skills students need to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing science, engineering or technical courses in college or university; certificate or workplace training programs requiring an equivalent level of science; or comparable entry-level science or technical courses, as well as jobs and post-secondary opportunities that require scientific and technical proficiency to earn a living wage.
  4. Science and technology/engineering core ideas and practices progress coherently from Pre-K to High School.
    The standards emphasize a focused and coherent progression of concepts and skills from grade band to grade band, allowing for a dynamic process of knowledge and skill building throughout a student's scientific education. The progression gives students the opportunity to learn more sophisticated material and re-conceptualize their understanding of how the natural and designed worlds work, leading to the scientific and technical understanding and reasoning skills needed for post-secondary success.
  5. Each discipline is included in grade-level standards Pre-K to Grade 8.
    To achieve consistency across schools and districts and to facilitate collaborative work, resource sharing, and effective education for transient populations, the Pre-K to grade 8 standards are presented by grade level rather than grade spans. All four disciplines, including earth and space science, life science, physical science, and technology/engineering, are included in each grade to encourage integration in curriculum.
  6. The STE Standards are coordinated with the Commonwealth's English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards.
    The STE standards require the use and application of key English Language Arts and mathematics concepts and skills needed to support science and technology/engineering learning. The three sets of standards overlap in meaningful and substantive ways, particularly in regards to practices (skills) that are common across all three, and offer an opportunity for all students to better apply and learn science and technology/engineering.

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