COMET  Vol. 17, No. 06 - 28 October 2016


In This Issue...

Contents

  1. 1 ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)
    1. 1.1 New Report from 2015 California Teachers Summit
    2. 1.2 Public Hearing and Vote on the California Science Framework to be Held During the November State Board of Education Meeting
    3. 1.3 Update: Federal Waiver Request for State Science Test
      1. 1.3.1 “California Denied Bid to Pilot New Science Tests in Place of Current Tests” by Pat Maio
      2. 1.3.2 CAASPP Science Content Reviewers Sought
      3. 1.3.3 Quick Reference: 2016-17 California Assessment System Webpage
    4. 1.4 Science Teachers Day--Free Workshops on Plasma Physics
    5. 1.5 Governor Brown Signs “Computer Science for All” Legislation
      1. 1.5.1 “Gov. Brown Signs Law to Plan Expansion of Computer Science Education” by Pat Maio
      2. 1.5.2 “Chancellor Timothy White Talks CSU and His Mantra: ‘More Students to Degrees Sooner’”
      3. 1.5.3 New K-12 Computer Science Framework Launched
    6. 1.6 Makerspace at California STEM Symposium; Maker Educator Certificate Program
      1. 1.6.1 “What Makes a Great Makerspace?” by John K. Waters
      2. 1.6.2 Where STEM-Rich Making Begins
      3. 1.6.3 Communities for Maker Educators: A Study of the Communities and Resources that Connect Educators Engaged in Making
      4. 1.6.4 “49ers STEAM Education Program Makes Impact at 2016 California STEM Symposium” by Emily Lucas
    7. 1.7 Co-Chairs of California State University Quantitative Reasoning Task Force Present to Mathematics Educators
      1. 1.7.1 Mathematics Readiness Challenge Grant Recipients
  2. 2 ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS) 
    1. 2.1 AMTE Standards for Mathematics Teacher Preparation
    2. 2.2 Results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress in Science Released
      1. 2.2.1 “California Making Strides in Science but Results are Still Lagging Most Other States” by Pat Maio
    3. 2.3 “Math Students From High-Performing Countries Memorize Less, PISA Shows” by Liana Heitin
    4. 2.4 Registration is Now Open for American Mathematics Competitions
    5. 2.5 Biographies of Contemporary Women in Mathematics
    6. 2.6 Developing a National STEM Workforce Strategy: A Workshop Summary
    7. 2.7 STEM SNIPPETS
      1. 2.7.1 Using Statistical Models to Predict the World Series and Presidential Election
      2. 2.7.2 “Physicists Recover From a Summer’s Particle ‘Hangover’” by George Johnson
      3. 2.7.3 “NFL’s John Urschel has a Brain Made for Math. And He’s Willing to Risk it on the Field” by Michael S. Rosenwald
      4. 2.7.4 “How to Bring Math Into Students' Real Lives--Making the case for math's relevance” by John Urschel
      5. 2.7.5 “How I Learned the Art of Math” by Ken Ono
      6. 2.7.6 Workshop: Supporting Mathematics Teachers and Teaching in the United States and Finland



ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)


New Report from 2015 California Teachers Summit

URL: http://bit.ly/BTCTS2015

The free Better Together: California Teachers Summits that were held during the summers of 2015 and 2016 provided a unique opportunity for thousands of PreK-12 teachers and administrators throughout the state to view common web-streamed presentations by inspiring speakers, as well as to hear from local PreK-12 education experts and to share ideas, challenges, and resources. (Visit http://cateacherssummit.com to learn more.)

On Wednesday afternoon, Emily Davis (emily@cateacherssummit.com) announced the release of a new report, What Teachers Said About Collaboration and Professional Learning, which “captures the highlights of teacher conversations, ideas, and suggested resources” from the 760 Edcamp sessions held at 33 university campuses during the 2015 Better Together Summit. (See www.edcamp.org)

This report can be viewed at http://bit.ly/BTCTS2015

The top resources recommended by the teachers in the Edcamp sessions were the following: Buck Institute for Education (BIE): Project Based Learning, Edutopia, Khan Academy, ClassDojo, Geogebra, Nearpod, Code.org, GoNoodle, Newsela, Common Sense Media, Gooru, Plickers, Edmodo, Kahoot!, and Remind (see page 15 of the report).

Davis says, “We invite you to keep the peer-to-peer learning going on Twitter (@CATeacherSummit) using the hashtag #BetterTogetherCA. By connecting with and learning from your peers, you can take your teaching to the next level and make an even bigger difference in your students’ lives.”
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Public Hearing and Vote on the California Science Framework to be Held During the November State Board of Education Meeting

URL (Agenda): http://bit.ly/SBE-112016

The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) voted unanimously to recommend that the State Board of Education (SBE) adopt the draft Science Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve in June 2016. A 60-day public comment period followed, during which over 900 comments were received. After a comprehensive review and revision process, the IQC forwarded the draft Framework and recommendations to the SBE.

A public hearing on the 2016 Revision of the CA Science Framework will be held on November 3 during the SBE meeting beginning at 8:45 a.m.

Following the public hearing, the SBE will vote to adopt the draft CA Science Framework, including the changes recommended by the IQC in September and October 2016. “Once the SBE takes action, the SBE and CDE staff will make necessary editorial changes as the document is professionally edited and prepared for publication.”

The draft CA Science Framework is available on the California Department of Education Science Framework webpage at http://bit.ly/SciFW-Draft. The Agenda Item document is available for download from http://bit.ly/CDENov16-09, and a spreadsheet of annotated public comments is available for download from http://bit.ly/SciFWComm
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Update: Federal Waiver Request for State Science Test


Source: CAASPP Update - California Department of Education – 19 October 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/CAASPP101916


On September 30, 2016, the California Department of Education (CDE) received a response to the federal waiver request it submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) last May to not double test students while conducting the pilot and field testing of the California Science Test (CAST) and, for alternate assessment-eligible students, California Alternate Assessment for Science (CAA for Science). The response from the ED provides the CDE with an opportunity to submit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE is currently working on the revision to resubmit.

This school year, California begins a four-year development cycle...for the California Next Generation Science Standards-aligned CAST and CAA for Science, which will be a part of the CAASPP System. For the pilot test (window opening 20 March 2017), all students in grades five and eight plus one grade in high school (grade ten, eleven, or twelve) will take either the CAST or the CAA for Science.
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Related articles:

“California Denied Bid to Pilot New Science Tests in Place of Current Tests” by Pat Maio


Source: EdSource – 5 October 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/EdSource100516


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CAASPP Science Content Reviewers Sought


URL: http://bit.ly/SciContentReviewers


California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) content reviewers are currently being recruited for the following assessment(s):

* California Alternate Assessments (CAA) for English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science

* California Science Test (CAST)

CAASPP content reviewers contribute their expertise as California educators at various stages in the assessment development process (e.g., reviewing new test questions and making recommendations regarding their content accuracy and alignment to content standards). Content reviewers are invited to participate in specific meetings on an as-needed basis.

Science content reviewers must hold an undergraduate degree in a science area, be knowledgeable about the California Next Generation Science Standards, and have at least 3 years of teaching experience in grades K-12 science.

If you are interested in participating as a content reviewer, please visit the website above for the application. If you have any questions, please contact CalTAC at 800-955-2954 or caltac@ets.org.
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Quick Reference: 2016-17 California Assessment System Webpage


The California Department of Education’s 2016–17 California Assessment System webpage (http://bit.ly/CDE-CAASPP) now provides a quick overview of all assessments to be administered in California during 2016-17, including the following:

- Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for ELA and mathematics

- CAAs for ELA and mathematics

- CAA for Science--pilot test

- California Science Test (CAST)--pilot test

- California English Language Development Test

- Physical Fitness Test

- Standards-based Tests in Spanish 

Also see the following chart of assessments: http://bit.ly/2flKb70

The CAASPP presentation at September’s State Board of Education Meeting is available at

www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr16/documents/sep16item04slides.pdf

For news regarding the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), please visit the CAASPP Update website at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/caasppupdates.asp
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Science Teachers Day--Free Workshops on Plasma Physics


URL: http://bit.ly/PlasmaPhysics16


Science Teachers Day will be held on November 1 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the San José Hilton. Admission to this special event is free. Middle and high school teachers are invited to attend a series of practical and informative workshops where they can learn about plasma physics research and pedagogy. Teacher will have the unique opportunity to meet and talk with physicists from research centers, laboratories, academia, and industry. In addition to the conference, teachers will receive lunch, goodie bags, and much more. Visit the website above for more details about this significant professional development opportunity. To register, visit http://bit.ly/PlasmaPhysicsReg16

If you have any questions, please contact Deedee Ortiz-Arias at dortiz@pppl.gov or (609) 243-2785.
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Governor Brown Signs “Computer Science for All” Legislation


URL (Bill): http://bit.ly/AB2329
URL: http://bit.ly/GovSignsCompSci


On 27 September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2329, which states, “It is the intent of the Legislature that all pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, have access to computer science education, with a strong focus on pupils underrepresented in computer science, including girls, low-income and underserved school districts, and rural and urban school districts.

The bill would require the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene a computer science strategic implementation advisory panel by 1 September 2017. Members of this 23-member panel are to include representatives from all levels of education, including at least six K-12 teachers.

By 1 July 2018, the advisory panel is to submit “recommendations for a computer science strategic implementation plan that includes, at a minimum, recommendations on all of the following:

(1) Broadening the pool of teachers to teach computer science. These recommendations may provide, among other things, for the following:

(A) Providing training and professional development for education in computer science...

(B) Creating a teacher certification pathway in computer science.

(C) Expanding scholarship eligibility and loan forgiveness programs for computer science teachers in low-income and underserved school districts and rural and urban school districts.

(2) Defining computer science education principles that meet the needs of pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive.

(3) Ensuring that all pupils have access to quality computer science courses. These recommendations may provide, among other things, for the following:

(A) Scaling up computer science education coursework so that all high schools teach at least one computer science course.

(B) Providing access to computer science in both college and career pathways.

(C) Ensuring school districts have adequate broadband connectivity and infrastructure and access to hardware and software...

(D) Removing local policy and regulatory barriers that local educational agencies face when implementing computer science education.

(E) Increasing the participation of pupils traditionally underrepresented in computer science education...
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Also included in the legislation is the following information:

(1) Computer science education is not only about access to computers. It is about innovation and development of technology. Computer science education builds pupils’ computational and critical thinking skills, which enables them to create, and not simply use, the next generation of technological tools. This fundamental knowledge is needed to prepare pupils for the 21st century regardless of their ultimate field of study or occupation.

(2) Computer science drives job creation and innovation throughout our state’s economy. Providing access to computer science education is a critical step for ensuring that California remains competitive in the global economy and strengthens its cybersecurity. Last year, there were over 600,000 technology jobs open across the United States, and, by 2018, 51 percent of all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. In California, there are currently 86,436 open computing jobs, which is four times the average demand rate in California.

(3) Computing occupations make up two-thirds of all projected new jobs in STEM fields, making computer science one of the most in-demand college degrees. However, California only had 3,525 computer science graduates in 2014 with only 15 percent female graduates.

(4) There are fewer advanced placement (AP) examinations taken in computer science than in any other STEM subject area. Of the high school pupils in California who took the AP computer science examination in 2015, only 26 percent were female, only 973 were Latino, and only 148 were African American. Only 242 schools in California, or 16 percent of California schools with AP programs, offered the AP computer science course in the 2013-14 school year.

(5) President Obama’s Computer Science for All initiative builds on the momentum at the state and local level. The President’s upcoming budget proposes funding for the United States Department of Education, available over three years, for states to increase access to computer science education in elementary and secondary education classrooms...

(6) Access to computer science education for all pupils is still a challenge, especially for underrepresented communities. Only one out of four K-12 schools teaches any computer science, leaving 75 percent of pupils today without the opportunity to develop skills that could help them thrive in the future.

(7) Exposure to computer science at a young age has the potential to address the diversity gap in computer science fields. Girls who take AP computer science in high school are 10 times more likely to major in computer science in college. African American and Latino pupils who take this course in high school are over seven times more likely to major in this field...

The complete bill text can be found at http://bit.ly/AB2329
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Related articles:

“Gov. Brown Signs Law to Plan Expansion of Computer Science Education” by Pat Maio


Source: EdSource – 27 September 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/EdSource092716

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“Chancellor Timothy White Talks CSU and His Mantra: ‘More Students to Degrees Sooner’”


Source: KQED Forum – 24 October 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/KQED-TimWhite1016


California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White responded to a question regarding what the CSU system is doing to address the state’s teacher shortage within his KQED interview. He noted that much progress has been made on the campuses, including a clinical approach to teacher preparation, diversification of the teaching force, a focus on Common Core, and a lot of grant funding.

Consistent with AB 2329, White stated that “particularly in the areas of STEM and cybersecurity and the issues of modern society going forward--we need more teachers capable to teach at the high school and middle school and elementary school level for the new needs of California.”
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New K-12 Computer Science Framework Launched


URL: http://bit.ly/K12CompSci
URL (Framework): http://bit.ly/K12CompSciFW


On 17 October 2016, the Association for Computing Machinery, Code.org, Computer Science Teachers Association, Cyber Innovation Center, and the National Math and Science Initiative announced the launch of the K-12 Computer Science Framework. The organizations collaborated with fourteen states, four districts, and the computer science education community to develop the conceptual guidelines contained in this framework. This short YouTube video provides an overview: http://bit.ly/2eWm5ww

The following is from the framework’s website, http://bit.ly/K12CompSci: “States, districts, and organizations can use the framework to inform the development of standards and curriculum, build capacity for teaching computer science, and implement computer science pathways.

“The framework provides a unifying vision to guide computer science from a subject for the fortunate few to an opportunity for all.”

Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer for Code.org, writes, “The framework promotes a vision in which all students critically engage in computer science issues; approach problems in innovative ways; and create computational artifacts with a personal, practical, or community purpose. To achieve this vision, the framework offers a set of guidelines to inform the development of standards, curriculum, and computer science pathways, and also help school systems build capacity for teaching computer science.

“A number of corporations, nonprofits, institutions, technology professionals, and notable members of the computer science education community have announced their support of the framework, including Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, International Society for Technology in Education, Project Lead the Way, Southern Regional Education Board, New York City Department of Education, and professors from universities such as Stanford, Harvard, and Duke. A full list of supporters is available at http://k12cs.org.” 

A webinar about the K-12 Computer Science Framework was held on October 19. Visit the following website to view the archived webinar: http://bit.ly/K12CompSciFW-Video
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Makerspace at California STEM Symposium; Maker Educator Certificate Program


The 2016 California STEM Symposium was held in Anaheim on October 9-11 and included presentations by keynote speakers Sir Ken Robinson and Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code.

Organized by the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, the Symposium also featured a 2,500 square-foot Makerspace (http://stemcalifornia.org/makerspace) which was hosted by the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office. Makerspace activities were led by Sonoma State University (SSU) in collaboration with the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) and Digital Promise (http://digitalpromise.org), which is headed by Karen Cator, previously Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. Advisors from CSU campuses and other Makerspace leaders staffed the tables and served to support the Maker Micro-credential and Digital Badges that were part of the Makerspace design.

SSU, SCOE, and Maker Media (http://makermedia.com) collaborate to offer a Maker Educator Certificate Program “that provides a series of mini-courses, both face-to-face and online, that help teachers and others gain knowledge on how to set up makerspaces and incorporate maker activities across academic disciplines and grade levels.”

This program, the first such certificate in the nation, “is designed for people seeking to lead maker activities in schools, clubs, community centers, libraries, and other organizations.” Details about the certificate program can be found at http://bit.ly/SSUMakerCertif
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Related information:

“What Makes a Great Makerspace?” by John K. Waters


Source: T.H.E. Journal – 20 October 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/THE-Makerspace


...The maker education movement has sparked a minor revolution in K-12 STEAM education. A growing number of schools and entire districts across the country are implementing dedicated, in-school makerspaces--sometimes called STEAM labs or fab labs--where students are encouraged to experiment, invent and tinker with a range of materials and technologies. But what constitutes an effective in-school makerspace?

"A makerspace is more of a mindset than a toolset," said Casey Shea, curriculum coordinator for maker education for the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). "Many of the most successful makerspaces I've seen started with very little equipment and a lot of creativity. It's a fundamental mistake to think that dropping a 3D printer into a room will turn it into a makerspace."

Shea has been involved with the maker education movement almost from its inception. He was teaching math at Analy High School in Sebastapol, CA, north of San Francisco, during the 2011-2012 school year when Dale Dougherty, the publisher of Make Magazine and founder of the Maker Faire, approached him about an experimental maker education project. Shea ended up leading a class of about 30 young makers, who met at the magazine's nearby headquarters twice a week.

Analy's Project Make is now taught on campus and includes three sections open to 9th-12th graders. The program has emerged as something of a model for hands-on learning. In fact, Shea worked with educators at Sonoma State University to develop a 50-hour, first-of-its-kind Maker Certificate Program, designed for people seeking to lead maker activities in schools, clubs, community centers, libraries and other organizations.

In his new role--he was appointed in July 2016--Shea helps educators throughout the county establish and expand "making opportunities" in their schools and classrooms. He said he believes that "making and tinkering" and the philosophies behind those activities are an essential part of the formula for a true 21st century education… [For more background, details, and makerspace examples, visit http://bit.ly/THE-Makerspace]

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Where STEM-Rich Making Begins


URL: http://bit.ly/cswnetwork


The Community Science Workshop Network (CSW Network) is “a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve as a powerful advocate and resource for Community Science Workshops, providing opportunities for youth to tinker, make, and explore their world through science in under-served communities across California… [The vision of the CSW Network] “is for all youth to be inspired by, and engaged in, the everyday wonder of science in the world around them; to identify themselves as scientists, engineers, problem-solvers, and builders; and to be empowered to be the producers (not consumers) of their own education.” Visit http://bit.ly/cswnetwork to learn more about the network’s history, services, and leaders.

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Communities for Maker Educators: A Study of the Communities and Resources that Connect Educators Engaged in Making


Source: SRI - September 201
URL: http://bit.ly/SRI-MakerEducatorCommunities


This report presents the results of a study focused on maker educators and the learning communities in which they participate. The study identified clear trends in how educators access resources, the kinds of resources they are interested in, and the ways they seek to connect with one another. These trends, alongside research findings on the importance of sustained interaction and pathways for newcomers and leaders within communities for learning, point to specific implications for the design and management of maker-centered communities for educators.
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“49ers STEAM Education Program Makes Impact at 2016 California STEM Symposium” by Emily Lucas


URL: http://bit.ly/49ersSTEAM2016


The San Francisco 49ers STEAM Education Program was in Anaheim ... to present on the franchise’s multi-dimensional STEAM Education Program--tying the game of football to concepts rooted in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM)...
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Co-Chairs of California State University Quantitative Reasoning Task Force Present to Mathematics Educators


On October 7, the Co-Chairs of the CSU Quantitative Reasoning Task Force (QRTF) participated in a Zoominar during the fall convening of the CSU Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (http://bit.ly/CSU-MTEP) held at the CSU Chancellor’s Office. Steven Filling (Immediate Past Chair of the Academic Senate CSU--ASCSU) and Kate Stevenson (Mathematics Professor, CSU Northridge; http://bit.ly/KateStevenson) shared the QRTF's Final Report and its goals, recommendations, and related ASCSU Resolutions.

As reported in the last issue of COMET, the 46-page QRTF Final Report was presented to the ASCSU during its September 2016 Plenary meeting: http://bit.ly/AcadSenPlenary0916

The report and related resolutions are available via the links below:

- QRTF Final Report: http://bit.ly/CSU-QuantReas (pp. 1-2 contain the report's four recommendations)

- Resolution 3264: http://bit.ly/Resol3264

- Resolution 3265: http://bit.ly/Resol3265

- Resolution 3270 (attached) will be an action item at the November 2016 ASCSU Plenary.

Please address any questions you may have about the report to Steven Filling at sfilling@mac.com
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Related information:

Mathematics Readiness Challenge Grant Recipients


URL: http://bit.ly/MRC-FundingResults


The fourth recommendation in the California State University (CSU) Quantitative Reasoning Task Force Report is the creation of a CSU Center for Advancement of Instruction in Quantitative Reasoning. “The Center should lead development of a quantitative reasoning course in the 12th grade analogous to the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) for high school seniors (Quantitative Reasoning-HS) in area c or g. Such development should be informed by the numerous very encouraging examples of such courses locally around the state in high school and postsecondary partnerships. The new, state-level course should be made available to high school teachers in modules that apply the skills and practices to be mastered in Algebra/Math I and many that are introduced and practiced in the full Common Core State Standards K-12 curriculum. Importantly, the course should have a strong focus on preparing students to engage in quantitative reasoning across a wide range of majors, interests, and careers, including, but not limited to teaching, nursing, law enforcement, information technology, sustainability, liberal studies, and social sciences...”

The Mathematics Readiness Challenge (MRC) is a related grant initiative sponsored by the California Department of Education. Its purpose “is to provide in-depth professional learning opportunities for collaborative teams of secondary educators, their school-site administrator, and faculty from their partner institution(s) of higher education to support the implementation and evaluation of grade 12 experiences that are designed to prepare pupils for placement into college-level courses in mathematics.”

The recipients of the $1,280,000 MRC grants are CSU Monterey Bay, CSU Sacramento, CSU San Bernardino, San Diego State University, and UCLA, along with the campuses’ high-need school district partners. Visit http://bit.ly/MRC-FundingResults for more information.  


ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS) 


AMTE Standards for Mathematics Teacher Preparation


Source: Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators
URL: http://bit.ly/AMTE-MTP101616


On October 15, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) announced the availability of the draft AMTE Standards for Mathematics Teacher Preparation, which can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/AMTE-MTP101616

The Mathematics Teacher Preparation (MTP) Standards webpage (http://bit.ly/MTPS-Feedback) includes details about the writing team (https://amte.net/node/1555) and the goal of the initiative, which is “to develop a set of standards describing a national vision for the initial preparation of mathematics teachers PK-12.

“The MTP standards will guide the improvement of individual teacher preparation programs (no matter what their accrediting agency) and promote national dialogue and action related to mathematics teacher preparation. These standards are aspirational, advocating for practices that support candidates in becoming high quality teachers who guide student learning.

“AMTE’s new standards will complement other recommendations related to mathematics teacher education, including the 2012 CBMS MET II report (http://cbmsweb.org/MET2/), AMTE's EMS Standards (http://bit.ly/AMTE-EMS13), and AMTE's Standards for Doctoral Programs in Mathematics Education (http://bit.ly/AMTE-DocMathEd)...”

AMTE President Christine Thomas and Executive Secretary Tim Hendrix invite individuals and groups to read the standards and provide feedback at http://bit.ly/MTPS-Feedback Questions may be directed to Hendrix (hendrixt@meredith.edu) or to the chair of the MTP Standards writing team, Nadine Bezuk (nbezuk@mail.sdsu.edu).
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Results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress in Science Released


URL: http://bit.ly/NAEP2015Science

Yesterday morning, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics released the results of The Nation's Report Card: 2015 Science at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This report, which is available online at http://bit.ly/NAEP2015-Science, features national and state-level results at grades 4 and 8, with national results at grade 12 from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Before 2015, the last assessment for fourth- and 12th-graders took place in 2009, and the last assessment for eighth-graders was administered in 2011. (Performance results cannot be compared with data from before 2009, when the new science framework was introduced.)

NAEP is the largest nationally representative, continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subjects. The 2015 science assessment measured students’ knowledge of physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences. The assessment also measured how well students implement science practices (e.g., using scientific principles and engaging in scientific inquiry).

In 2015, 22% of 12th-graders performed at or above the Proficient achievement level, which denotes competency over challenging subject matter. Additionally, 38% of fourth-graders and 34% of eighth-graders performed at or above Proficient, an increase of 4 percentage points at both grade levels compared with scores on the 2009 assessment. The average score of 12th-grade students did not change between 2009 and 2015.

The results also show score gaps narrowing by race/ethnicity. The score gaps between black and white students and between Hispanic and white students at both grades four and eight have narrowed since 2009. In addition, fourth-grade male students scored about the same as fourth-grade female students on the 2015 assessment, eliminating the gender difference. At grade eight, male students scored higher than female students, but the difference between their scores in 2015 was smaller than the difference between their scores in 2011 (3 points versus 5 points). At grade 12, male students outperformed female students by 5 points. The gap between their scores in 2015 was not statistically different from the 2009 gap.

Emphasizing science inside and outside of the classroom is tied to student performance in the subject, as shown in data collected through NAEP student and teacher questionnaires about educational experiences. Overall, students with more exposure to science scored better on the 2015 science assessment than students with less exposure:

* Eighth-graders who participate in hands-on activities or investigations in science class every day or almost every day, as reported by their teachers, scored 12 points higher than students who never or hardly ever engage in these activities.

* Eighth-grade students who self-reported that they have visited a museum, zoo or aquarium to learn about science outside of a school trip scored 7 points higher than students who have not participated in those activities outside of school.

* Students who have teachers with access to school-provided scientific tools for teaching science (e.g., telescopes, microscopes and thermometers) also scored higher. Eighth-graders whose teachers reported the highest level of access to these tools scored 16 points higher than eighth-graders whose teachers reported no access. Twelfth-graders who reported having access to such tools scored 37 points higher than 12th-graders without access.
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Related article:

“California Making Strides in Science but Results are Still Lagging Most Other States” by Pat Maio


Source: EdSource – 27 October 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/EdSource-102716


“The Nation’s Report Card,” released Thursday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, included scores from 46 states that measured the progress of 4th- and 8th-graders over six years through 2015. The 4th-graders in 43 other states and the 8th-graders in 41 states had higher scores than their California counterparts.

Despite struggling to improve performance, there is a silver lining for California: The state experienced one of the greatest improvements in test scores over the six years. For both grades (4th and 8th), California’s rate of improvement ranked 16th among the states...
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“Math Students From High-Performing Countries Memorize Less, PISA Shows” by Liana Heitin


Source: Education Week – 11 October 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/2e3jLoR


Students in high-performing countries for mathematics are less reliant on memorization strategies than their peers in lower-performing countries, according to a new analysis of international assessment data.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the Program for International Student Assessment every three years to 15-year-olds from around the world, periodically publishes reports looking at slices of the data. A 93-page report released last week offers takeaways for math teachers from the 2012 results (the most recent round available).

Among other things, it looks at the relationship between memorization and math achievement. It finds that students who report using memorization alone when studying math are successful with easier problems, but struggle with more difficult ones....

For more, please visit the website above. The webpage of the report, Ten Questions for Mathematics Teachers…and How PISA Can Help Answer Them, is http://bit.ly/OECD-PISA-MathQs
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Registration is Now Open for American Mathematics Competitions


Source: Mathematical Association of America
URL: http://bit.ly/MAA-MathComp1617


Middle and high school mathematics teachers can now register their school for participation in two of the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) offered by the Mathematical Association of American (MAA). Nationwide, over 350,000 students from over 6000 students participate annually in the MAA AMC.

The MAA mathematics competition webpages (www.maa.org/math-competitions/about-amc and related pages), include details about the upcoming competitions. Following is information about the middle and high school open competitions:

- The AMC 8 is a 25-question, 40-minute, multiple-choice examination in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development of problem-solving skills. The AMC 8 provides an opportunity for middle school students to develop positive attitudes towards analytical thinking and mathematics that can assist in future careers. Students apply classroom-learned skills to unique problem-solving challenges in a low-stress and friendly environment (http://www.maa.org/math-competitions/amc-8). The competition date is 15 November 2016.

- The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are both 25-question, 75-minute, multiple-choice examinations in high school mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem-solving skills. The AMC 10 is for students in 10th grade and below, and covers the high school curriculum up to 10th grade…The AMC 12 covers the entire high school curriculum including trigonometry, advanced algebra, and advanced geometry, but excluding calculus…These competitions are administered around the country on Tuesday, 7 February 2017 and/or Wednesday, 15 February 2017 (http://www.maa.org/math-competitions/amc-1012).
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Biographies of Contemporary Women in Mathematics


Organization: Association for Women in Mathematics
URL: http://bit.ly/AWM-EssayContest


Each year, the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) sponsors an essay contest that is open to students in grades 6-12 as well as college undergraduates. Students are invited to interview a woman who works in a mathematics field and write a 500-1000-word biography based on their interview.

Awards are given to students at the middle school, high school, and collegiate levels for winning essays. A collection of these interesting and inspiring profiles of women in mathematics can be found on this webpage: http://bit.ly/AWM-Essays Contest rules are available at http://bit.ly/AWM-ContestRules

Although the next submission deadline isn’t until 31 January 2017, AWM is “currently seeking women mathematicians to volunteer as the subjects of these essays. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, contact Dr. Heather Lewis, the contest organizer, by email at hlewis5@naz.edu.”
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Developing a National STEM Workforce Strategy: A Workshop Summary


Source: The National Academies Press
URL: http://bit.ly/NAP-NatlSTEM-Workforce


The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Directorate on Education and Human Resources asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to convene a workshop designed to contribute to NSF’s preparation of a theoretical and evidence-based STEM Workforce Development R&D Core Framework. Approximately 50 participants discussed research themes, identified gaps and emerging research opportunities, and recommended refinements in the goals of the framework.

This report, which can be downloaded free of charge from the website above, summarizes the presentations and discussions from the 2-day workshop, which was held in Washington, D.C., in September 2015.

Several of the chapter titles are the following:

- The STEM Workforce Landscape

- Maintaining Student Interest in STEM

- K-12 STEM Education and Workforce Readiness

To read the volume online, visit http://bit.ly/2ehxB4u

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STEM SNIPPETS


Using Statistical Models to Predict the World Series and Presidential Election


Nate Silver is a statistician who has become well known for his models predicting the outcome of elections (http://fivethirtyeight.com/politics) and sporting events (http://fivethirtyeight.com/sports). His FiveThirtyEight website is thus quite popular during this presidential election and Super Bowl season. Although dated, those interested in data journalism (“statistical analysis,...data visualization, computer programming, and data-literate reporting”) may be interested in this article: http://53eig.ht/2dNTTi8 Those curious about Silver’s early enjoyment of mathematics may like to peruse http://nyti.ms/2eTrLYJ

“Physicists Recover From a Summer’s Particle ‘Hangover’” by George Johnson


Source: The New York Times – 17 October 2016
URL: http://nyti.ms/2ehvhKE

“NFL’s John Urschel has a Brain Made for Math. And He’s Willing to Risk it on the Field” by Michael S. Rosenwald


Source: The Washington Post – 8 October 2016
URL: http://wapo.st/2eN4WYD

“How to Bring Math Into Students' Real Lives--Making the case for math's relevance” by John Urschel


Source: EdWeek – 6 October 2016
URL: http://bit.ly/2dS8nbQ

“How I Learned the Art of Math” by Ken Ono


Source: Scientific American
URL: http://bit.ly/2dNUXTh

Workshop: Supporting Mathematics Teachers and Teaching in the United States and Finland


Source: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
URL: http://bit.ly/2fdaZaq

In August, the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction and the University of Helsinki held a 2-day “Workshop on Supporting Mathematics Teachers and Teaching in the United States and Finland.” Background readings, presentations, and videos of the workshop sessions are available on the website above.

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


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