Category Archives: Washington State Science

Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice

There is still room at this impactful upcoming event in the South Puget Sound Region. See below for description and registration link.

The Bethel School District and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative are partnering to offer this 2-day workshop on Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.

Title: Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.

Location: Graham-Kapowsin High School

Dates: June 25 & Aug. 22 , 2018 (8:00 – 3:30)

Presenters: Lia Wetzstein, Emily Pinckney, Tom Hathorn

Why:

●  Inspire students with local phenomena and problems that matter to their community.

●  Support student aspirations toward STEM-related careers.

●  Integrate NGSS PEs about humans in relation to the environment (LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3).

Who:

●  MS & HS Science Teachers (all subjects), Administrators

●  School Districts in the South Sound LASER Alliance

What: Day 1

●  Meet & study local environmental justice issues → Analyze the systems & who’s affected.

●  Unpack natural & human structures → How did things get this way? What keeps it stable?

●  Use the NGSS engineering cycle (D-D-O) → Solving environmental problems = engineering .

●  Discover & use local STEM issues → Use students’ interests & cultural-community practices.

●  Begin planning → Activities or small units that utilize local phenomena or problems.

What: Day 2

●  Share emerging units → Give & get ideas.

●  NSTA resources for teaching controversial topics → See opportunities & pitfalls.

●  Use students’ voices → Guide the dialogue & discussions.

Registration: https://pwidei-ej4ngss.eventbrite.com

Contrasting Groups Study- WCAS Development Opportunity (WA Only)

I want to make sure that all grade 5, 8, & ll teachers of science in WA State are aware of this great opportunity to be involved in the development of the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) called the Contrasting Groups Study.

Unlike most of the opportunities to work on WCAS development, you do not need to travel…it is all online. You will participate in a FREE online training, learn about WCAS and the Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs), and then make predictions of how your students will do when engaging with the WCAS this spring. This information will be used by the Achievement Level Setting committee in August. You will also get to see the results of your predictions. The window to participate ends soon on April 14th, 2018!

Here is an excerpt of the overview of the Contrasting Groups Study from OSPI. See the complete announcement HERE.

What’s the timeline?

The CGS training will be available online on the Moodle training site from March 1 through April 14, 2018. Educators will learn about the CGS study, about the structure and contents of the ALDs, and how to participate in the study. The training will take approximately 3 hours and can be completed at your own pace. Free clock hours will be available to participants.

 After training, teachers will use the ALDs and observations of student work to make predictions about student achievement on the WCAS. These observations can be completed as part of regular classroom instruction and assessment.

 From March 19 through April 14, 2018 teachers will enter their student predictions into the CGS application in the Education Data System (EDS). This process should take approximately 5 minutes per class of 30 students.

 In fall of 2018, participants can return to the CGS application in EDS and compare their predictions to actual student achievement on the WCAS.

 

(WA Only) NGSS Assessment Supports December 2017

Hi all,

If you are a science assessment nerd like me then you’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of several documents to support the new NGSS Science Assessment in WA State or the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS).

We recently got the following items from the science team at OSPI:

A. Online sample items at grades 5, 8, and 11

B. The first set of WCAS Test & Item Specs…more will be arriving in the coming year

Grade 5 Test Design and Item Specifications

Grade 8 Test Design and Item Specifications

High School Test Design and Item Specifications

C. Webinars to support each of these items are also available- see below:

Register for the “How to Work with the WCAS Training Tests” Webinar on January 10

Register for the “Science Test and Item Specifications Release” Webinar on January 24

Click HERE to see the updated science assessment page at OSPI.

WA Only: LASER Workshop 11-29-17 Next Gen Science & Engineering for Equity

Hi all,

This is a very affordable opportunity for upper elementary and middle school science teachers in the Puget Sound Region to dig into STEM education and equity.

Here is the link if you are interested in signing up:

http://tinyurl.com/Nov29Registration

Below is information copied from the registration site…

DATE AND TIME

Wed, November 29, 2017

8:30 AM – 4:00 PM PST

LOCATION

Microsoft Conference Center

16070 NE 36th Way

Redmond, WA 98052

DESCRIPTION

This full-day workshop for upper elementary and middle school teachers will give participants tools to engage their students in science and engineering practices aligned with the NGSS. From building low-cost sensors, to iterating design challenges to writing across the STEM disciplines, teachers will add to their toolkit of effective and engaging teacher practices. Professor Jose Rios’ keynote will challenge participants to develop their ideas about educating for equity and access in STEM.

Six STEM clock hours will available for an extra fee, pending approval.

Tenative Agenda

  • 8:30-8:45 am – Opening
  • 8:45:- 10:30 am – Hacking STEM
  • 10:30 – 10: 45 am – Break
  • 10:45 – 12:30 pm – Science/Engineering Notebooks
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm – Lunch
  • 1:15 – 2:00 pm – Equity Presentation
  • 2:00 – 3:45 pm – Engineering Fellow Program
  • 3:45 – 4:00 pm – Closing

Instructional Leadership for Science Practices

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 1.37.47 PMOVERVIEW: The Instructional Leadership for Science Practices (ILSP) is a project to support school principals and other instructional leaders in supporting shifts in science education practices. Their site provides multiple tools for instructional leaders to use in developing their own understanding of the required shifts in practices and how to support teachers in these same shifts.

PURPOSE: The ILSP project seeks to support instructional leaders in providing ambitious supervision of science teachers that provides a focus on engaging students in the science and engineering practices. The site provides supervision tools, instructional tools, example lessons and lots more. This is a great way for building principals to find science-specific support to supplement TPEP frameworks such as Danielson and CEL 5D.

AUDIENCE: Building principals, district leaders, coaches, TOSAs, lead teachers, professional development providers

LINK: http://www.sciencepracticesleadership.com/

Next Generation Science Assessment Tasks: Bethel School District

OVERVIEW: Tom HathornK-12 Science Specialist for the Bethel School District in Washington State, has worked with his science team to create a spectacular set of grade 6-12 science formative assessment tasks for understanding the Next Generation Science Standards. These assessments are designed to be “objects of study” as we all continue to learn about 2 Dimensional and 3 Dimensional assessment. The assessment tasks meet the following criteria:

  • Items are based on a stimulus with an anchoring phenomena
  • Each item assesses at least 2 of the 3 Dimensions of NGSS
  • Tasks are based on bundles of NGSS performance expectations
  • Individual items are connected to specific evidence statements

There are currently 17 assessment tasks and I can just about guarantee that any grade 6-12 teacher of science will find at least one task that matches NGSS Performance Expectations in your course/grade. You will find tasks targeting life science, physical science, Earth/Space science and Engineering Design.

PURPOSE: These NGSS assessment tasks are intended to be used as professional learning objects so that we can all move forward in our understanding of how 3 Dimensional Assessment will be different than typical classroom assessments. In Bethel, they have created modified lessons and units that match these assessment tasks. Here is how Tom describes the use of these assessment tasks with his teachers:

Purpose & Expectations:  Become More Proficient at 3-D Learning & Assessment

  • Primary Purpose:  These lessons and assessments afford teachers the chance to understand, implement, and discuss “3-dimensional” lessons and assessments.
  • All teachers should:
    • Use the NGSS lesson modifications.
    • Give the NGSS assessment.
    • Use the assessment as fodder for student-student conversation.
    • Discuss their lesson observations & student work with colleagues.
  • The results will be used to “optimize” the lesson plans.

AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers of science, district leaders, Curriculum and Assessment Directors, PD providers, pre-service teachers, building administrators, parents, others

LINK: Tom has built a shared Google Folder at the link HERE. You will find several supporting documents. You will want to go to the folder titled Bethel NGSAs- For 3D Planning… Inside this folder you will find labeled folders with documents for each of the assessment tasks. Each folder contains the Stimulus and the Items as separate documents. There is purposefully No Answer Key or Rubric for these.

Here is a note from Tom on the use of these assessments:

About these NGSAs (Next Generation Science Assessments)

You’ll see presentation materials as well as the assessments themselves.

Caveat – These represent our first efforts…we’re getting better at it:

We are learning a lot about 3D assessment and instruction (happily…that’s the point).  A few lessons-learned:

  • Doing the NGSAs, studying the evidence statements, and tweaking the items is very good learning for teachers.
  • The new Task Formats document is a great tool for assessment & instructional tasks; the slides from AIR’s presentation about item types is also very helpful to teachers who want to do NGSA work.
  • In our 2nd round of NGSA work I left more room for improving the items/cluster, which engaged the teachers in considering the different selected-response item types.  With one group I wrote all items as constructed-response, then had them decide which ones to revise into selected-response…this seemed to work very well.
  • These NGSAs are time-consuming, and so we’re getting better at using selected-response items and writing fewer items that target important-but-not-every evidence statement.
  • Teachers are using the NGSAs in alternate ways, not always single-sitting (choosing only some items, using as homework, spreading them out over time).
  • We are emphasizing that these are intended as formative assessments, so consider which items to discuss, and what kind of discourse to use (see Page Keeley’s Formative Assessment in Science vol.1 & vol.2, which have been revised to focus on NGSS Practices & Crosscutting Concepts).  These student conversations are nice opportunities to engage students in the 3 dimensions.
  • Engaging administrators with a few items from NGSAs has helped them to understand NGSS, what’s reasonable (or not) to expect from teachers at this point, and how to support teachers & teacher leaders.

 

Cheers,

Tom Hathorn

K-12 Science Specialist

Bethel School District

WA STATE ONLY: High School Next Generation Science Field Test

Hi all- Below is a copy of an official bulletin from OSPI regarding an opportunity for WA State High Schools to apply to participate in a pilot of the upcoming HS NGSS Science Assessment.

Teachers, schools, and districts will soon need to make an important decision about participating in the field test that will support development of a high school assessment of the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards (Next Generation Science Standards). The field test will be administered as a separate online assessment for high school students and can be taken during a single 50-minute class period.

An application in the Washington Assessment Management System (WAMS) will open December 1, 2016 so that the District Test Coordinator for each district can indicate which schools, and the approximate number of teachers and students that will participate. The registration window closes January 31, 2017.

Purpose: The Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards (Next Generation Science Standards) will be assessed for the first time in spring 2018. Before test forms can be constructed, newly developed test items must be field tested to ensure that the items are accessible to all students and that they produce results that are valid, reliable, and fair. These new, online field test items can be embedded in the online Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) in grades 5 and 8, but the paper-pencil Biology End-of-Course exam does not provide that same opportunity for the new high school items. This separate online field test for high school will ensure that the statistics used to construct future high school test forms are as accurate as possible.

No scores or reports: The number of items a student will see on the field test is much smaller than the total number of items that will be on the full assessment delivered in spring 2018. The cut scores for the full assessment will not be established until summer 2018. This means that no individual student scores will be generated from the field test. Without individual scores there will be no school, district, or state scores. Schools need to understand that the field test is not a preview of how well their students will do on the operational tests in 2018, but rather a way to help OSPI make sure the operational tests in 2018 and beyond are fair, valid, and reliable.

Participation: Students in Grade 11 are the target population for this field test. If the test is administered to an entire class, and some students in Grade 10 or Grade 12 are also in the class, those students are also able to participate. Students in Grade 9 are not able to participate in this field test. Students may participate regardless of science courses taken and do not need to be currently enrolled in a science course.

Test Format and Administration Time: The high school field test will be delivered online, using the same testing platform as the Smarter Balanced Assessments (the AIR Test Administration Interface and the WA Secure Browser). There will be selected response, technology enhanced, and constructed response items; most items will be associated with one or more stimuli. Most item formats are similar to those students have seen in the Smarter Balanced assessments so we anticipate that students will navigate the online functionality well. Students will see only a small number of items which should be completed within one 50-minute class period. The field test is a secure state assessment, so all OSPI test security protocols and training must be followed.

Testing Window: The testing window for the field test is May 1 to June 15, 2017. The field test will be administered during one day of that window, and within one class period for each student participating.

District Test Coordinators message: The information in this message was distributed to District Test Coordinators (DCs) via the Washington Assessment Weekly newsletter on November 14, 2016. That message also included directions for how to register schools for the field test, and information about which Designated Supports and Accommodations will be available during the field test.

Teacher Volunteers: While registration will be done “by school,” that does not mean that an entire school or grade level must participate. An individual teacher can give this field test to one class of students, or to multiple classes; or a group of teachers at a school can each test one class or multiple classes. The teachers and classes of students are not limited to science classes—students in any subject can participate. We hope that this flexibility will increase the number of students that are able to participate. Teachers interested in participating in this field test should contact their District Test Coordinator (DC) before January 31, 2017 and let them know of their willingness to participate. DCs are the only staff that can register a school for the field test.

Elementary and middle schools are not included in the registration options because participation in the online Science MSP includes the field test items embedded in the Spring MSP test.