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.
OVERVIEW: The STEM Teaching Tools group recently updated two of my favorite resources and I want to make sure everyone has the “latest and greatest”.
PURPOSE: These two tools are some of the best resources available for identifying prompts, tasks, and questions that guide students in engaging in the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts as they solve problems and explain phenomena. These tools have been updated and revised as feedback has come in from the field and other partners.
AUDIENCE: teachers of science, administrators, curriculum directors, curriculum developers, pre-service teachers, teacher educators, PD providers, & others
OVERVIEW: The Smithsonian Science Education Center and the Shell Oil Company have collaborated to compose a document titled- Fostering Change: Ideas and Best Practices for Diversity in STEM Teaching in K-12 Classrooms. This playbook provides support in trying to diversify the STEM teaching ranks.
PURPOSE: Here is some wording directly from the playbook that describes the purpose of the document.
The nation faces challenges to achieve excellence in its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce; and, the importance of fostering diversity in STEM teaching is fundamental to this success. Several theories support the importance of having educators in the classroom who reflect the background and experiences of the students in their schools. Across the nation, there are programs that aim to increase the number of STEM teachers or programs to increase the number of teachers from diverse communities at large, but very few programs aim to do both at the same time. In 2015, an effort was launched by Shell and the Smithsonian Science Education Center to bring together individuals and organizations with the unique ability to foster change through a series of activities designed to assist school districts in implementing systemic reform to increase diversity in their STEM teaching community.
Together, these experts identified several opportunities that can impact a school district’s path toward increasing the diversity of STEM teachers in the classroom, while preparing these same STEM teachers for science leadership opportunities. One identified need was a playbook of recommended discussions, practices, and tools that a school district could use to foster change. This playbook will provide school district decision makers and change makers with a starting point to begin their efforts. The playbook is designed to be responsive to district needs and will be revised as we collect feedback from school districts and individuals who offer best practices for success.
I recommend skimming the Table of Contents to get a clear overview of the playbook.
This is a thoughtfully designed resource to add to your toolbox of equity-focused science resources.
AUDIENCE: school district leaders, human resource departments, college of education administrators and recruiters, supporters of equity and diversity in STEM teaching and learning
OVERVIEW: Climate Generation has a variety of climate resources for teachers including a middle school NGSS climate unit titled Next Generation Climate. The unit is FREE via a simple registration process and includes several graphs for students to use in examining and evaluating evidence of a changing climate. The unit contains 6 lessons each built around a question such as:
Lesson 1: What evidence is there to show there is a rise in global temperatures?
Lesson 2: What factors have caused the rise in global temperature over the last century?
PURPOSE: Next Generation Climate provides a resource that some middle school teachers and systems might find helpful.
AUDIENCE: middle school science teachers, curriculum directors, professional development providers, administrators, pre-service teachers, etc
OVERVIEW: WestEd recently published a free report titled- Developing District Plans for NGSS Implementation: Preventing Detours and Finding Express Lanes on the Journey to Implement the New Science Standards. This report describes how the NGSS Early Implementers project in eight California school districts has supported thoughtful NGSS implementation. The report shares lessons learned and also provides appendices with samples of district NGSS implementation plans. The report also provides tools, processes and recommendations for developing NGSS implementation plans.
PURPOSE: Provide tools, resources, support and stories of authentic NGSS implementation.
AUDIENCE: School District leaders, consultants, teacher leaders, etc
OVERVIEW: We are at an exciting spot in the implementation of NGSS where we are seeing some high-quality three dimensional instructional materials being released. The American Museum of Natural History (and other partners) has developed a unit titled Disruptions in Ecosystems that provides five chapters to immerse students into understanding life science and human activity MS performance expectations in NGSS. Each chapter provides a phenomenon for students to investigate.
PURPOSE: This unit obviously has potential as being helpful for any middle school science teacher/system that is looking for a well-designed NGSS ecosystems unit. However, this unit also provides a model for what good NGSS instructional materials might look like.
AUDIENCE: middle school teachers, science PD providers, curriculum directors, curriculum writers, etc
LINK: Here is the link on the NGSS site where you can get Disruptions in Ecosystems as a zip file and also see how this unit rated on the EQuIP Rubric.
Here is a video on Teaching Channel where you can see students engaging in constructing arguments using this unit.
Are you looking for more samples of 2 Dimensional and 3 Dimensional summative assessment items for NGSS? Well, Michigan just recently released online samples of NGSS science assessment items for grades 5, 8, and 11.
Check out the portal HERE. Click on the grade you want and then follow the login instructions. Enjoy!