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Science Framework Revision Guidelines

Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee Guidelines for the Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve.

The State Board of Education (SBE) approved the guidelines on July 10, 2014. The guidelines will direct the work of the science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (science CFCC).

The following guidelines are based on statutory requirements, information provided by the Instructional Quality Commission and the State Board of Education (SBE), feedback from the five focus group meetings held in January and February 2014, and public comment.

  1. In general, the updated Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve (Science Framework) shall:
    1. Be aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS) and the NGSS Appendices A-M, adopted by the SBE in September 2013.

    2. Be aligned to the CA NGSS Integrated Learning Progression Courses for Middle Grades Six through Eight as recommended by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), and adopted in November 2013 by the SBE as California’s preferred model.

    3. Provide an overview of the CA NGSS including an explanation of how the standards are organized.

    4. When appropriate, follow the organization and design of other standards-based frameworks.

    5. Clearly state the basic overarching purpose and goals of the Science Framework.

    6. Retain and reaffirm the “State Board of Education Policy on the Teaching of Natural Sciences.”

    7. Provide a clear and concise narrative that serves the needs of teachers, educators, curriculum leaders, family members, and students and that reflects current and confirmed research.

    8. Explain how the CA NGSS align to the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CA CCSS ELA/Literacy), the California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CA CCSSM), and the California English Language Development (CA ELD) standards.

    9. Discuss lab safety and access to laboratory equipment and supplies aligned to the CDE Science Safety Handbook for California Public Schools.

    10. Support and clearly outline the progression of learning from transitional kindergarten through high school (vertical alignment maps) to ensure that all students can achieve college, career, and citizenship readiness.

    11. Identify and discuss the major conceptual shifts as identified in Appendix A of the CA NGSS.

    12. Include guidance, resources, and references for more standards-based, hands on science activities.

    13. Be a living document with annotated links that include an explanation of implementation tools, research-based instructional practices, model/sample exemplars, and high-quality research.

    14. Provide appropriate guidance for teachers with educational backgrounds in science and those without such experience including those with multiple subject credentials.

    15. Provide guidance from the CA NGSS appendices A–M.

    16. Include guidance regarding how the “Performance Expectations,” “Disciplinary Core Ideas,” “Crosscutting Concepts,” and “Science and Engineering Practices” should be implemented together in classroom instruction.

    17. Provide research-based effective models for instruction throughout the narrative and in vignettes to support teachers as they implement the CA NGSS, with examples using subject areas other than science and specific attention to the “Science and Engineering Practices” and the differences between them when used for science or engineering.

    18. Guidance for “bundling” the “Performance Expectations” in alignment with guidance documents at the national level and multi-state organizations.

    19. Include a narrative and rationale for the preferred CA Integrated Learning Progression Courses for Middle Grades Six through Eight in the framework.  Also include a discussion and rationale for the Alternative Discipline Specific Courses for Grades Six through Eight in the framework.

    20. Provide course sequences for high school level based on the “Course Maps” provided in Appendix K of the NGSS with a discussion of A–G requirements for college and university entry.

    21. Provide guidance for teachers to implement the CA CCSS ELA/Literacy, grades TK–12, including recommended literature and informational text suggestions for the science classroom.

    22. Feature a glossary of relevant science terms.

    23. Reference the Environmental Education Initiative (EEI) curriculum and incorporate California’s approved Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs) pursuant to EC Section 71301, Public Resources Code.

    24. Discuss human tissue and organ donation as appropriate pursuant to EC Section 33542.

    25. Promote and provide guidance in the creation of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs to encourage groups that are currently underrepresented in STEM fields to seek careers in STEM-related fields.

    26. Discuss trends and research in science, including medical research, neuroscience and neurological diseases (such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and inform students about career pathways in science.

    • AA. Provide links to resources and curriculum related to the CA NGSS.

    • BB. Provide guidance for incorporating or including nature of science as described in Appendix H.
  1. The revised Science Framework will address instructional strategies and professional learning, including the following:
    1. Instructional strategies based on current and confirmed research that support student engagement in the science curriculum and incorporate science inquiry skills, such as, but not limited to, the use of interactive science notebooks, scientific discourse, argument, evidence, and scientific debate, and the 5E Learning Cycle.

    2. Suggestions for low-cost laboratories at every grade level, and recommended ways to assess student learning using laboratory assignments.

    3. Discussion of a variety of research-based instructional models.

    4. Support for a collaborative teaching model that encourages teachers to work with colleagues across subjects and grade levels.

    5. Guidance for teachers regarding how to use technology, real world applications, project-based learning, and performance tasks to develop literacy.

    6. Discussion and examples on effective models of professional learning.

    7. Guidance on developing professional learning communities to promote ongoing professional growth to develop and inform effective practice.

    8. Information for district administrators to support teachers with professional learning opportunities as they implement the CA NGSS, as well as guidance regarding professional learning for administrators implementing the CA NGSS.

    9. An explanation of Webb’s “Depth of Knowledge Levels” and guidance for teachers to deliver rigorous and challenging science instruction at all grade levels.

    10. Information that supports the development of academic and content-specific vocabulary.

  1. The revised Science Framework will address the topic of assessment and include the following:
    1. The latest scholarly research on effective assessment strategies.

    2. Clarification on the purposes and examples of various types of assessment including: entry-level, diagnostic, ongoing formative, performance-based, interim, and summative.

    3. Guidance on the use of assessment results to monitor, plan, and adjust instruction and improve achievement for all students.

    4. Guidance on developing and using formative and summative assessment tools, such as rubrics, technology, portfolios, exemplars, collaborative conversations, teacher observations, and authentic writing for students to demonstrate grade-level proficiency.

    5. Guidance to teachers on how to develop students’ abilities and metacognition in order to take responsibility for their own assessments, growth, and goals, and to organize ongoing information for students’ self-assessments.

    6. Discussion of how assessments should be based on multiple measures of student ability and include a variety of techniques for various learning styles and levels of readiness.

    7. Suggestions for low-cost laboratories at every grade level, and recommended ways to assess student learning using laboratory assignments.

    8. Current information on California’s assessment of the CA NGSS.

  1. The revised Science Framework will address the topic of providing access and equity in the classroom and support teachers in providing standards-aligned instruction to all learners. The framework will include:
    1. Explanations of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and their implications for science instruction.

    2. Suggestions for making academic and content-specific vocabulary accessible to all students.

    3. Specific examples of differentiated instruction, including scaffolding and critical-thinking questioning strategies.

    4. Research-based instructional strategies, including the use of technology, to motivate and meet the needs of all students, including, but not limited to:
      • English Learners
      • Advanced learners
      • Students with disabilities
      • Young women
      • Students with reading skills below grade level
      • Underachieving students
      • Standard English Learners
      • Students living in poverty
      • Foster youth
    5. Include relevant research from the CA ELA/ELD Framework that applies to literacy development in the science classroom.

    6. Support for teachers in meeting the needs of students with diverse cultural and educational backgrounds.

    7. Examples of effective instructional strategies at various grade levels that include pre-teaching, a focus on good first instruction, rigor, and high expectations for all students and how the sharing of effective instructional strategies facilitates collaboration among educators across the curriculum and grades.
  1. The revised Science Framework will address teaching and learning science in the 21st century and include the following:
    1. The importance of strategies that support critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication in the science classroom.

    2. A discussion regarding how the CA NGSS are designed to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship.

    3. Examples of instructional strategies in the science classroom, including those that highlight the science and engineering practices and support the development of 21st century skills.

    4. Discussion of the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and media, the selection and use of the tool(s), and strategies best suited science instruction.

    5. Support for the strategic use of technology in the classroom at different grade levels and for different purposes, considering, equity and access issues throughout the state.

    6. Information regarding the use of technology to deliver assessments, analyze the results, and provide targeted information to increase student learning and intervention.

    7. References and links to technology-based tools and strategies for instruction and learning (e.g., performance tasks, project-based learning, research, integration, production, distribution, and presentation of knowledge and ideas).

    8. Information on the role of technology in professional learning and resources for online professional learning.

    9. Discussion of the role of technology in supporting universal access.
  1. The revised Science Framework will provide guidance on implementing high−quality science instruction, which includes information for all stakeholders, and include the following:
    1. Discussion of the role of district and site leaders in supporting the implementation of high-quality science programs grades TK-12, including the fiscal and infrastructural support to build and maintain those programs.

    2. Resources for administrators including information clarifying and supporting the instructional shifts required for NGSS and support for parents/families and other stakeholders, including guidance on collaboration between work, school, and home.

    3. Guidance for administrators and teachers to build partnerships with external organizations, including higher education and industry.

    4. Resources for teachers and administrators to provide students with real-world science experiences and expose students to various careers in the field of science.

    5. A list of state organizations and community resources to support teachers and administrators in building robust science programs at their sites.

    6. Suggestions for enriching science activities beyond the regular school day to pique students’ interest in science.
  1. The revised Science Framework will include a chapter on instructional materials that incorporates the criteria for evaluating K–8 instructional materials and general information. The criteria for evaluating K–8 instructional materials will:
    1. Require alignment to the CA NGSS, adopted by the SBE in September 2013 for grades K-5 and materials from grades 6-8 will be aligned to preferred Integrated Learning Progression Courses for Middle Grades Six through Eight adopted in November 2013 and/or the Alternative Discipline Specific Courses for Grades Six through Eight.

    2. Request that publishers and producers of instructional materials provide assessment practices (e.g., entry-level, diagnostic, formative, interim, performance-based, and summative) at each grade level necessary to prepare all students for success in higher level science instruction.

    3. Request that publishers and producers of instructional materials provide embedded assessments and guidance for their use in the classroom.

    4. Require instructional materials to be consistent with the revised science framework and standards.

    5. Provide opportunities for hands-on activities and include discussion of equipment and materials for any hands-on activities, guidance on obtaining those materials inexpensively, and explicit instructions for organizing and safely conducting the instruction.

    6. Include instructions to publishers and producers of instructional materials to incorporate strategies for English learners that are consistent with the ELD standards adopted by the SBE in November 2012, pursuant to EC Section 60204(b)(1).

    7. Request that science materials provide support for instruction in English and another language to support biliteracy, English language development, and CA NGSS.

    8. Include strategies that are consistent with the CA NGSS to support student achievement in mastering the grade-level standards.

    9. Include instructions to publishers and producers of instructional materials to incorporate instructional strategies to address the needs of students with disabilities in both lessons and teacher’s editions, as appropriate, at every grade level pursuant to EC Section 60204(b)(2).

    10. Require instructional materials to discuss humanity’s place in ecological systems and the necessity for protection of our environment (EC Section 60041, and Public Resources Code Section 71301).

    11. Include specific criteria for technology-based instructional materials and online curriculum.

    12. Be consistent with criteria developed by collaborative multi-state organizations, recognizing the unique needs of California.

    13. Support teachers in connecting the CA NGSS to the CCSS strand for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects, grades K–12

    The criteria for evaluating grades 9–12 instructional materials will:

    1. Include guidance for local educational agencies to determine the extent that instructional materials align with the CA NGSS, recognizing that not all standards may be taught in a particular course, and a combination of materials may be used to teach all grade-level standards.

    Guidance on Open Education Resources

    1. Include guidance and references to using Open Educational Resources (OER) and how they provide opportunities for increasing equity and access to high-quality TK–12 education. At the same time, the discussion should focus on the available evaluation instruments and how OERs are being incorporated into classrooms.
  1. Statutory Requirements

    The framework update must reflect changes in statute affecting the science curriculum and instructional materials that have been enacted since the last revision of the Science Framework, in addition to continuing statutes. These statutes require that certain topics may need to be referenced in the Science Framework. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following topics:

    • The availability of sufficient textbooks and other instructional materials in the core curriculum areas, including science and science laboratory equipment for grades nine through twelve as appropriate (EC sections 33126[6] [B] and 60119).
    • Teacher assignment to a class for which the teacher lacks subject matter competency (EC Section 35186[4][e][2][C]).
    • Maximum weight standards for textbooks for students in elementary and secondary schools (EC Section 4915).
    • Adopted course of study for grades one to six in science include the biological and physical aspects of science, with emphasis on the processes of experimental inquiry and on the place of humans in ecological systems (EC Section 51210[d]).
    • The objectives of a credentialed teacher designated as a science coach by a governing board of a school district (EC Section 51210.3).
    • Adopted course of study for grades seven through twelve in science includes the physical and biological aspects with emphasis on basic concepts, theories, and processes of scientific investigation, the place of humans in ecological systems, and appropriate applications of interrelation and interdependence of the sciences (EC Section 51220[e]).
    • The Environmental Principles & Concepts developed by the California Environmental Protection Agency and adopted by the SBE (EC Section 71301, Public Resources Code).
    • Environmental education topics, including but not limited to integrated waste management, energy conservation, water conservation, pollution prevention, air resources, integrated pest management, toxic materials, wildlife conservation, and forestry (EC Section 33541 [a-b]).
    • The subject of organ procurement and tissue donation (EC Section 33542).
    • English language development strategies aligned to the California English Language Development Standards, as well as strategies to address the needs of pupils with disabilities (EC Section 60200.9).
Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 28, 2023
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