COMET  Vol. 13, No. 5 - 7 April 2012

In This Issue...


CAMTE Web Site Expanded to Include More Resources plus Math Specialist and Foundational-Level Mathematics Pages

Contact (Web site): Carol Fry Bohlin -

The California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE) is a professional organization that promotes and supports excellence in the preparation and professional development of K-12 mathematics teachers throughout California. Visit the CAMTE Web site for news pertinent to California's mathematics teacher educators: 

A page has been added recently to the CAMTE Web site for the Mathematics Instructional Added Authorization (MIAA) and Mathematics Instructional Leadership Specialist (MILS) Credential:  Also added was a page for the Foundational-Level Mathematics Credential:   

In addition, the following categories were added to the CAMTE Web site's Resources page ( Common Core State Standards, Mathematics Credentials, and SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium. (Recommendations for additional links are welcome. See contact information above.)


High School Teachers are Invited to Attend Free Summer Institutes to Design Model Courses Integrating Career Technical Education with Academic Subjects

Contact: Deborah McCaskey, University of California (UC) Curriculum Integration Institutes Communications Coordinator

The application period will open soon for the University of California's Summer 2012 UC Curriculum Integration (UCCI) Institutes, convening July 15-18 in Burlingame. At the Institutes, high school teachers and administrators will meet and collaborate on the design of innovative model courses integrating career technical education (CTE) with academic ("a-g") subjects. Once approved in the CTE and "a-g" areas, UCCI Institute courses are available for implementation by any California high school.

The summer session features two Institutes meeting concurrently, each devoted to its own combination of CTE industry sector and "a-g" subject area. The Institutes for Summer 2012 are:
-- Health Science and Medical Technology with history/social science ("a")
-- Information and Communication Technologies with mathematics ("c")

High school educators are invited to apply online beginning April 15 at The Institute is free to participants. Meals and lodging costs are covered with the financial support of the California Department of Education.

For more information, please contact Deborah McCaskey, UC Curriculum Integration Institutes Communications Coordinator: (510) 987-9437 or


Participants are Sought for Field Testing Items for the CSET: Multiple Subject and CSET: Mathematics Examinations


The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has announced that the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson is developing new items to be added to the bank for the CSET: Multiple Subject and the CSET: Mathematics examinations. Candidates for the California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential or the Single Subject Credential in Mathematics are eligible to participate in a field test of draft test items. 

Field testing will be conducted between early April through mid-July 2012 at colleges and universities throughout California. For each field test booklet completed, participants will receive either a Penguin Gift Code in the amount of $100 or a $75 test voucher. Participants will also acquire valuable practice in taking the CSET and will have the opportunity to gauge their knowledge and skills as they take the field test.

Information regarding the advantages of participation and the Field Test Participation Form can accessed at the following links: and   


New Research Finds That Potential for Science Learning in Middle School Goes Untapped

Source: Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd

URL (Report):

California's middle schools have the potential to provide students with high quality science education, but significant challenges limit opportunities for science learning, leaving that potential unfulfilled, according to new research released on March 22.
The research shows that middle schools offer dedicated time for science, access to facilities and a teaching force that is fairly well prepared for teaching the subject. But students often lack access to science instruction in earlier grades and arrive at middle school underprepared and uninterested. Systemic support for science has eroded and overcrowded classrooms, insufficient time for instruction, and inadequate materials limit access to high quality learning opportunities. 

And while many teachers are well prepared for teaching science, nearly one-quarter of middle school teachers do not have a background or credential in science. Teachers also need opportunities to continually deepen their knowledge and improve their teaching skills, while keeping up with ever changing developments in the field.

"California's middle schools offer critical strengths for teaching science," says Holly Jacobson, Director of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd.  "But too often their efforts are undermined by difficult challenges that are limiting opportunities for science learning for students."

These findings and others are explored in Untapped Potential: The Status of Middle School Science Education in California. This new report examines the results of a statewide study of science education conducted in 2010 and 2011 among middle school science teachers and their principals, as well as school district science education leaders in California. 

The study was commissioned by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd and conducted by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and SRI International as part of their Strengthening Science Education in California Initiative. The report follows earlier research on science education in California's elementary schools published in October 2011 ( 

"Our research finds that students in California's middle schools are unprepared for and uninterested in science learning," says Ardice Hartry, a researcher at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. "And unfortunately, middle school students are unlikely to have access to high quality learning opportunities that engage them in the exploration and practice of science." The analysis suggests that just 14 percent of middle school teachers provide a pattern of classroom practices that support regular engagement of students in the practices of science.

The report also details challenges to teaching science at the middle school level.  In addition to the inadequate preparation of students in elementary schools, class size, funding and lack of access to needed materials are cited as barriers to science instruction. And while many middle school teachers have had access to professional development for teaching science, more than half of teachers say more is needed.

"If science learning is going to be a priority, it is imperative that California act to strengthen science education in elementary schools so that students will be prepared for and interested in the pursuit of science in middle school and beyond," concludes Jacobson. "We should also build upon the existing strengths of our middle schools and address the challenges they face in ways that promote high quality learning opportunities in science."  

To further efforts to strengthen science education in California the report's authors offer specific recommendations. Highlights of these include:
-  Prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards now under development (
-  Focus on elementary science.
-  Ensure that teachers have the professional development and other support needed to provide students with a comprehensive, experiential science program.
-  Examine the state requirements for middle school science teachers to ensure that the path leading to the credential adequately prepares the credential holder to teach to the rigors of middle school science.
-  Provide opportunities for vertical professional learning communities.
-  Examine the master schedule of middle schools to ensure that sufficient time is devoted to science classes and is scheduled to accommodate lab work and experiential learning.

Untapped Potential: The Status of Middle School Science Education in California is published as part of the work of Strengthening Science Education in California, a research, policy and communications initiative funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to improve the quality of science education. The report and summary materials can be found on the Web at and downloaded directly from


Scope and Sequence for Common Core High School Standards for Mathematics

Source: Patrick Callahan - 

A suggested arrangement of the Common Core High School Mathematics Standards has been posted on the Tools for the Common Core website: 

The development of these Scope and Sequence Documents was supported with funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Pearson Foundation.  

The design was to organize the High School standards into coherent units (typically 2-4 weeks in length) in such a way that the units could be sequenced into either traditional or integrated courses.  This was done to facilitate the design and development of activities, lessons, and projects at the unit level.

There are graphic representations of every standard organized by units into traditional and integrated courses and a text document describing each of the units in full.

In addition to downloading the Scope and Sequence resources, individuals may post questions, comments, and responses on the Web site.


Also visit for sample scope and sequence documents from the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin.


Position Statement on Calculus by the Mathematical Association of America and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics


In his final column as President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (5 April 2012), J. Michael Shaughnessy writes, "Recently NCTM and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) crafted a new joint position statement on the role of calculus in the transition from high school to postsecondary mathematics. The development of this statement was prompted by several issues related to the study of calculus on both sides of the high school to college transition in mathematics. Over the past several years, the MAA has been conducting a longitudinal study that tracks the progress of beginning college calculus students throughout their first year in college or university calculus. At the same time, NCTM has been advocating for a more up-to-date set of pathways to make the mathematical transition from secondary to college mathematics...

"The MAA report found that many students repeat first-year calculus after taking it in high school--even students who have scored a 3 or higher (out of 5) on the AP Calculus exam. Also, many incoming college calculus students are not fluent in some of the foundational mathematics concepts and skills that support calculus--for example, functions, trigonometric concepts, or some algebraic skills. 

"Both NCTM and the MAA have found evidence that there are a number of strong mathematics students who successfully finish calculus before or in college and then happily announce that they 'never have to take another math course!' As a result, we are losing large numbers of highly qualified mathematics students very early in their college careers. Many of these students are strong candidates for possible STEM careers--some of our best students, in fact. Also, we may be turning a number of potential mathematics students off by pushing them through years of a repetitive and overly narrow, algebra-focused mathematics curriculum, which doesn’t give students sufficient opportunities to broaden their horizons in other areas of mathematics, such as in various geometries, discrete mathematics, statistics, or linear algebra...

"NCTM and the MAA agree to continue discussing the issues around broadening--in fact, multiplying--the potential pathways from secondary to postsecondary mathematics. Meanwhile, both organizations recognize that calculus will continue to be taught in secondary schools and students will come to college and university with a variety of calculus experiences. Our joint position statement on calculus includes recommendations both for high schools and postsecondary institutions on the teaching of calculus, including the following:
- Calculus is not the ultimate goal of high school mathematics; rather, a broad mathematical preparation for college and career is the most important goal of high school mathematics.
- If calculus is to be taught in high school, it should be taught at a college level.
- Whenever students enroll in calculus, they should have a solid mastery of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.
- Colleges and universities need to shape mathematics courses for students who have experienced introductory calculus in high school, and need to offer students alternative introductory mathematics courses."


Visit to read the MAA/NCTM Joint Position Statement on Calculus. Also visit to read David Bressoud's MAA column on the same topic. He notes that "the MAA study Characteristics of Successful Programs in College Calculus found that 61% of the students in college Calculus I had studied calculus in high school, and 58% of all the students starting Calculus I expected to earn an A in the course. Confidence was the greatest single casualty of the course, dropping by almost half a standard deviation from the start to the end of the course."


"DU the MATH": Free Online Math Tournament for Students in Grades 3-9

Source: DimensionU

DimensionU--an online educational gaming company--recently launched "DU the MATH," a free national scholarship tournament to encourage math competence through game play among students in grades 3-9. The tournament attempts to bring a "fresh edge to mathematics with vivid graphics, cool prizes, and help from celebrity ambassadors Greyson Chance and Mindless Behavior." 

The tournament includes five 1-week competitions starting April 9 and ending May 13. Players can compete as individuals or in teams to compete with other students in schools across the country. Individuals compete for $40,000 in scholarship prizes, while schools compete for the grand prize: Hosting the DU the MATH Tournament Finals and Music Fest in their town. 

For more information, visit  To register, visit


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

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    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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