2002 Archive‎ > ‎

Vol. 3, No. 36 - 6 December 2002


(1) California Learning Resource Network (CLRN)

URL: http://clrn.org/

The California Learning Resource Network is a one-stop information center that enables California educators to locate supplemental electronic learning resources that meet local instructional needs and that incorporate the California curriculum frameworks and content standards.

CLRN can be used to:

* Perform searches in a database of electronic learning resource reviews

* Access, create, and edit standards-aligned, technology-enhanced lesson plans

* Link to other statewide technology services and a calendar of events

A database of electronic learning resources for mathematics is available at http://clrn.org/math/

(2) California Transition to New Subject Matter Exams

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Newsletter - Fall 2002


For many years, California has had rigorous subject matter standards in place for teachers. Candidates are required to demonstrate their subject matter knowledge prior to being awarded a preliminary credential. California law provides two options for meeting this subject matter competence requirement: (a) completion of a Commission- approved program of course work in the subject area, or (b) passage of the appropriate Commission-approved subject matter examination(s). In addition to the Multiple Subjects Assessment for Teachers (MSAT), the Commission-approved subject matter examination which may be used to verify subject matter competence for California Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials, there are 24 single subject areas that have approved subject matter examinations used for meeting this requirement.

In the late 1990s, the State Board of Education adopted K-12 student content standards in English, mathematics, science, and social science. The implications of these new standards on teacher subject matter preparation were recognized in SB 2042 (Alpert, 1998), which requires the Commission to ensure that subject matter program standards and examinations are aligned with the K-12 student content standards adopted by the State Board. In response to the requirements of SB 2042, the Commission recently developed new subject matter requirements for the Multiple and Single Subject Teaching Credentials, and Education Specialist Instruction Credential. As a result, the Commission is in the process of implementing a new examination program called the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). This program will be aligned to the new subject matter requirements, and in turn, to the K-12 student content standards. Over the next four years, the CSET will take the place of the current subject matter examinations. The CSET will be developed and administered by National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES). Equivalent subject matter course work programs are also under development for Commission accreditation.

The first administration of the CSET is scheduled for January 2003, in multiple subjects (for the Multiple Subject Teaching and Education Specialist Instruction Credentials), English, mathematics, science, and social science. The CSET will be available in the remaining subject areas over the subsequent three years: tests in art, languages other than English, music, physical education, and preliminary educational technology will first be administered in testing year 2004-05; tests in agriculture, business, health science, home economics, and industrial and technology education in testing year 2005-06.

Currently, for most subject areas, prospective teachers choosing to satisfy the subject matter competence requirement by examination must take multiple tests (Praxis II and SSAT), from two different test contractors, on different dates. If an examinee fails a test, s/he must retake the entire test, even though the examinee may be strong in one or more of the domains tested.

The subject matter examinations offered through the CSET program are designed as single, multi-part tests administered by a single contractor. Each test will consist of subtests and an examinee that passes any subtest will not need to retake that subtest. This test structure will provide flexibility in the use of testing time and the opportunity for candidates who are not successful on a particular subtest to focus their efforts on that particular content...

Following the initial administration of the CSET, standard- setting studies will be conducted with an independent review panel for each new test to develop recommended passing scores. The results of these studies will be presented to the Commission for adoption of passing standards.

The new CSET was developed by California educators, including classroom teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and curriculum specialists, to ensure instructional alignment with the K-12 student content standards and to meet the unique issues and needs of California's classrooms.


Note: For more information on the CSET, go to http://www.cset.nesinc.com/

(3) "Eastin Announces Five California Teachers of the Year 2003" (Press Release)

Source: California Department of Education - 20 November 2002

URL: http://www.cde.ca.GOV/news/releases2002/rel36.asp

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin today named five outstanding teachers as California's Teachers of the Year 2003: Virginia Avila, Grant High School, Grant Joint Union High School District, Sacramento, Sacramento County; Anne Marie Bergen, Magnolia Elementary School, Oakdale Joint Unified School District, Oakdale, Stanislaus County; Connie Baumgardt Blackburn, Central School, Escondido Union School District, Escondido, San Diego County; Christopher Mullin, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara County; and Tamara Thornell, Norman R. Brekke School, Oxnard Elementary School District, Oxnard, Ventura County...

Although California selects five top teachers to serve as state Teachers of the Year, only one name can be submitted for consideration as National Teacher of the Year. This year's California nominee is Virginia Avila. The announcement for the National Teacher of the Year, a program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers, will be made in spring 2003. The current National Teacher of the Year is Chauncey Veatch from Coachella Valley High School in Riverside County, California...

California Teachers of the Year nominations are submitted by county offices of education following regional competitions. At the state level, a committee representing a broad cross-section of the state reviews nominations. This year's committee included teachers, administrators, and other members of the educational community. Approximately 60 nominations were narrowed to a field of semi-finalists. Each semi-finalist received a classroom visit by three veteran Teachers of the Year who are practicing professionals. Several finalists were subsequently interviewed by a panel comprised of representatives from a school district, the business community, and the state superintendent's office.

The State Board of Education will formally recognize the new California Teachers of the Year in January 2003. A dinner will be sponsored by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation; the California State Lottery; Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc.; the Masons of California; GTECH; National Semiconductor; Harcourt Educational Measurement; The Men's Wearhouse; and NCS Pearson. Other partners include the Sacramento Kings and Raley's/Bel Air.


For further information, please contact Kimberly A. Edwards, coordinator of the California Teacher of the Year program at the California Department of Education, at (916) 319-0415.

(4) Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Source:  National Science Foundation (PAEMST Program)

URL: https://www.ehr.nsf.gov/pres_awards/proinfo1.shtm

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) Program was established in 1983 by The White House and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The program identifies outstanding mathematics and science teachers, kindergarten through 12th grade, in each state and the four U.S. jurisdictions. These teachers will serve as models for their colleagues and will be leaders in the improvement of science and mathematics education. Beginning in 2003, the competition will alternate each year between teachers of grades 7-12 and teachers of grades K-6. In 2003, teachers of grades 7-12 mathematics and science in each state and the four U.S. jurisdictions will be eligible to apply. Teachers of grades K-6 will be eligible for the Presidential Awards in 2004. The nomination form for 2003 can now be downloaded at https://www.ehr.nsf.gov/pres_awards/Documents/2003_Nomination_form.doc

The application form for 2003 can now be downloaded at https://www.ehr.nsf.gov/pres_awards/Documents/2003_PAEMST_Application.doc

The 2002 PAEMST Awardees will be announced at the beginning of March 2003. Each Presidential Awardee will receive a $7,500 award from the National Science Foundation. Each Awardee will also be invited to attend, along with a guest, recognition events in Washington, D.C. during the week of March 18-23, 2003. These events will include an award ceremony, a Presidential Citation, meetings with leaders in government and education, sessions to share ideas and teaching experiences, and receptions and banquets to honor recipients.


State Coordinators for California

*  Secondary Mathematics: Sandie Gilliam - (831) 335-1677; sgilliam@slvhs.slv.k12.ca.us

Elementary Mathematics: Vance Mills - (619) 463-3326; drmath@cox.net

*  Science: Jennifer Rousseve - (916) 319-0410; jroussev@cde.ca.gov

(5) California STAR Program

Source: California Department of Education - 29 November 2002

URL: http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2002/

The 2002 California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program results for the state, counties, districts, and schools are now available at this site. Results are reported for the:

* California Standards Tests

* Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition, Form T (Stanford 9)

* Spanish Assessment of Basic Education, Second Edition (SABE/2)

...Students in grades 2-11 are tested in reading, language (written expression) and mathematics. Students in grades 2 - 8 are also tested in spelling, and students in grades 9 - 11 are tested in science and social science. The tests are administered to all students during a period that includes the 10 instructional days before and 10 instructional days after the day on which 85% of each school, program or track's instructional year is completed.

Beginning in 1999, additional test items in language arts and mathematics were added to the STAR Program. These additional items were initially referred to as the Stanford Augmentation and are now known as the California Standards Tests. During 2001, three additional California Standards Tests were added to the program:

* Grade 4 and 7 writing tests,

* Grade 9 - 11 end-of-course science tests, and

* Grade 9 - 11 history-social science tests.

The purpose of the California Standards Tests is to determine how well students are learning the skills and knowledge required by the California Academic Content Standards for each grade or course. The purpose of the Stanford 9 is to determine the achievement of each student compared to a national sample of students tested in the same grade at the same time of the school year...

(6) SBE Meeting Highlights: A Summary of Key Actions by the California State Board of Education - November 2002

Source:  State Board of Education (SBE) - (916) 319-0827


SAT 9 Scores Show Significant Gains over Five Years

A five-year analysis of subgroup scores on Stanford 9 (SAT 9) tests from 1998-2002 shows dramatic achievement gains by Latino and African-American students in the early elementary grades, where students have enjoyed the benefit of California's push for a standards-based educational system over the past half-decade.

A five-year trend analysis presented by the California Department of Education's Standards and Assessment Division looked at subgroup performance in reading and math by race and ethnicity, as well as by language fluency, program participation (such as Title I and Migrant Education) and parent educational level.

The data reflect the percent of students within each subgroup scoring at or above the 50th percentile (the national average) on SAT 9. The data showed consistent growth across all of the subgroups in relation to the national average at each grade level in both reading and math. "For whatever reasons, we are seeing a consistent level of growth, and the growth is consistent over time," Phil Spears, director of the CDE Standards and Assessment Division, told the State Board.

Among the highlights:

= The percentage of Latino 2nd grade students scoring at or above the national average in reading rose from 21% in 1998 to 38% in 2002, an 81% rate of growth in the number of such students;

= The percentage of African American 2nd graders scoring at or above the national average in reading rose from 27% 1998 to 46% in 2002, a 70% rate of growth in the number of such students;

= The percentage of Latino 3rd graders scoring at or above the national average in math more than doubled, rising from 23% in 1998 to 50% in 2002. That means half of Latino 3rd graders in California in 2002 are at the national average in math, up from less than one in four just five years ago.

= The percentage of African-American 3rd graders scoring at or above the national average in math nearly doubled, rising from 24% in 1998 to 47% in 2002.

Such results in the elementary grades prompted State Board of Education President Reed Hastings to declare, "I've been looking at the Texas miracle, (but) I believe that the improvement in California is simply the most impressive achievement gain in the history of the United States."

Hastings noted the data show much smaller gains in the upper grades, particularly at the high school level. State Board Member Marion Joseph said it is clear that middle and high school students have not had the benefit of standards-based instructional materials...

Spears summarized the five-year subgroup performance as follows:

= Performance gains on math tests for all subgroups were similar and significant;

= Performance gains on reading tests for all subgroups were similar, but less than observed for math;

= Performance gains on math tests in grades 2-6 were significantly greater compared with the gains in grades 5-11;

= Performance gains on reading tests were significantly greater in grades 2-4 compared with the gains in grades 5-11...

II/USP Sanction Schools to be Reviewed in Early 2003

Explaining that it seeks to take a "credible and thoughtful" approach, the State Board has decided to opt for more time before it adopts specific actions against schools facing sanctions under the state's Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program (II/USP).

Under the II/USP program, schools that failed to demonstrate the requisite progress over two consecutive years on the state's Academic Performance Index now face sanctions, ranging from assignment of an intervention team to a harsher set of sanctions that at a minimum includes the possible reassignment of the school's principal. II/USP sanctions were laid out in the Public School Accountability Act of 1999 and further refined under SB 1310, signed into law this year. The law now lays out two separate tracks for sanctions. Under the first track, a School Assistance and Intervention Team (SAIT) is assigned and conducts an immediate audit. This process is designed to produce a mandatory corrective plan of action for the individual school within 60 days. By law, the local school district is required to implement the SAIT recommendations. The second process allows for harsher sanctions that may lead to the removal of the school principal.

In addition, one or more of the following actions will occur: students at such "state-monitored" schools may choose another school; parents can apply to the State Board to establish a charter school; a trustee could be named to the run the school; and, in a worst-case scenario, the school could be closed. At the State Board's November meeting, the CDE presented recommendations that all 22 schools should be assigned a School Assistance and Intervention Team (SAIT).

At their October meeting, State Board members said they wanted to examine the individual circumstances at each school. The Board members asked staff to gather and present information on the schools in three key areas: 1) standards-based instructional materials; 2) school leadership; and 3) the professional development of teachers.

At the November meeting, State Board members expressed a desire to have the benefit of final 2002 API data for each school. Statewide and similar school rankings for all schools will not be released until January 2003, and State Board members said they wanted to take the rankings into consideration as part of the necessary information they need to make thoughtful and informed decisions as to how best to assist the 22 schools. "We appreciate the fact that the evidence (information requested in October) has been presented, but by waiting to act until next year, we get new information on the schools' API rankings, both the statewide and similar school rankings," said State Board Vice President Joe Nunez.

In addition, State Board members said they believe that the law gives them more time in which to act because the provisions of SB 1310 do not become operative until January 1, 2003.

Thus, the deadlines for sanctioning schools not meeting growth targets or demonstrating significant growth should be calculated from the release of the final API data in January. "We will comply with the law; we just want to use all of the time we are allowed to make a reasoned, thoughtful decision," said State Board President Reed Hastings. Hastings noted that some of these schools have a statewide decile ranking of 5 and a similar schools ranking of 10, meaning these schools in some cases might be models for best practices. "What does it mean to intervene in a school that is performing relatively well? There is a need to act, but on the other hand, when we do act, it is important that the action is credible," Hastings said.

NCLB: "Adequate Yearly Progress" Options Reviewed

A major provision in the federal No Child Left Behind Act is the requirement that all schools must demonstrate "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) and that all students must perform at or above the "proficient" level in both mathematics and language arts by 2014. The staff of the California Department of Education's Policy and Evaluation Division once again reviewed potential options for integrating the AYP requirements within the framework of the state's existing, well-developed accountability system, the Academic Performance Index or API. Under the API-based accountability system, each school currently receives a statewide ranking and a similar schools ranking, with the lowest performing schools in Decile 1 and the highest performing in Decile 10.

The API system requires all schools to meet a schoolwide growth target and all numerically significant subgroups at each school to make at least 80 percent of the schoolwide growth target. Under this system, low-performing schools in lower deciles can still be recognized for achieving growth. Under the AYP model, in contrast, a minimum percentage of students at each school must perform at or above the "proficient" level in both mathematics and language arts. The minimum percentage rises each year, so that within 12 years all students in all schools achieve at the "proficient" level or higher in both mathematics and language arts. All students and each subgroup would have to meet the annual so-called "status" targets in language arts and mathematics for a school to demonstrate AYP.

At a minimum, California will need to incorporate Kindergarten and K-1 schools into its accountability system, and add students with disabilities and English learners as significant subgroups that are required to demonstrate comparable improvement in the statewide accountability system.

Bill Padia, Director of the CDE's Evaluation and Policy Division, highlighted two options. Under the option favored by CDE staff, California would essentially maintain the current API system so that the API methodology is maintained and there would be only one system of measurement. The major change would be the addition of students with disabilities and English learners as significant subgroups. (Currently, the API's significant subgroups consist of racial and ethnic subgroups, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.) There would be no separate reporting for AYP.

Under another option, the state would use two systems of measurement and provide schools with two accountability reports an API report and an AYP report. The current API report featuring schoolwide and subgroup performance would remain unchanged. An AYP report would appear on the back of the traditional API report and would provide a breakdown on the percent of each subgroup scoring at "proficient or above" in mathematics and English-language arts.

(The State Board must still define "proficient" under AYP. Previous discussion of the issue centered on whether "proficient and above" in mathematics and English-language arts would be derived from the percentage of students scoring at the proficient or advanced level on the California Standards Tests.)

While State Board members expressed varying points of view about the two highlighted options, the State Board as a whole did not take any formal action on the potential options. There was a common sentiment that California needs to demonstrate a good-faith effort to meet the spirit and the letter of the law. The State Board isn't expected to formally act until January 2003, when the state's AYP plan is due to the USDE....

Testing/English Learners: ''The State Board took action to authorize that the 2003 California Standards Tests and the California Achievement Test (CAT 6) be administered to students, including English learners, without an arbitrary time limit. The motion was made with the understanding that the publisher of the CAT 6 did not believe administration of the nationally normed test, absent time constraints, would adversely impact the validity of the results in relationship to the test's national norms. Subsequently, President Hastings announced that additional information had been received from the publisher clarifying the publisher's position. Hastings indicated that this matter would need further consideration at the State Board's December 2002 meeting and that this action should be regarded as provisional until then.

COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.

COMET is produced by:

    Carol Fry Bohlin, Ph.D.
    Professor, Mathematics Education
    California State University, Fresno
    5005 N. Maple Ave. M/S 2
    Fresno, CA 93740-8025

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