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Science

Resources and information for enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers and links to foundational documents which guide California's science instruction.

State Guidance

Information and guidelines for implementing and improving science programs including content standards and framework, curriculum, materials, and legislation.

Content Standards and Framework

Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, K–12
In 2013, the State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve.

California Standards Mobile Application
The California Content Standards mobile app provides quick, targeted access to California content standards.

Science Curriculum Framework
The SBE adopted the Science Framework on November 3, 2016. Curriculum frameworks provide guidance to educators, parents, and publishers to support implementing California content standards.

2014 English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework
The 2014 ELA/ELD Framework has been developed to support and incorporate the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy) and the California English Language Development Standards (CA ELD Standards). The California SBE adopted the ELA/ELD Framework on July 9, 2014. This is the final digital version of the ELA/ELD Framework.

Additional Resources

Information Regarding A-G Courses External link opens in new window or tab.
Information can be found on the University of California (UC) website. If a district is moving to an integrated pathway, UC Office of the President recommends that districts do NOT remove traditional courses that have been a-g approved UNTIL the new integrated courses have been approved for a-g status.

Science Safety Handbook for California Public Schools (PDF)
This handbook was updated in 2014 and includes information to help make your kindergarten through grade twelve science environment safe.

Translations of the Science Safety Handbook's Safety Regulations for Students and Families
Select pages from the Science Safety Handbook for California Public Schools (2014) that a school would send home to families. These documents appear as Appendix B in the Science Safety Handbook.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption (Kindergarten through Grade Eight)
Information and resources for instructional materials are available on the California Department of Education web page.

California Graduation Requirement

State Minimum Course Requirements
California Education Code (EC) Section 51225.3 has specified a minimum set of courses to meet state requirements to graduate from high school and receive a diploma. The governing boards of local educational agencies (LEAs) have the authority to supplement the state minimum requirements at the local level.

EC Section 51225.3 states that all pupils receiving a diploma of graduation from a California high school must have completed all of the following courses, while in grades nine to twelve, inclusive:

  • Unless otherwise specified, each course shall have a duration of one school year:
    • Three courses in English
    • Two courses in mathematics, including one year of Algebra I (EC Section 51224.5)
    • Two courses in science, including biological and physical sciences
    • Three courses in social studies, including United States history and geography; world history, culture, and geography; a one-semester course in American government and civics, and a one-semester course in economics
    • One course in visual or performing arts, foreign language, or commencing with the 2012–13 school year, career technical education. For the purpose of satisfying the minimum course requirement, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in foreign language
    • Two courses in physical education, unless the pupil has been exempted pursuant to the provisions of EC Section 51241
  • Other coursework adopted by the local governing board of the LEA

Contacts

Assessment: Assessment Office; caaspp@cde.ca.gov; 916-445-8765
Professional Learning: Standards Implementation Support Office; stem@cde.ca.gov; 916-323-5847
State Standards and Framework: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881
Instructional Materials: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881

Instruction

Resources and information for enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers and links to foundational documents which guide California's Science instruction.

State Resources

Environmental Education and Environmental Literacy
Information on current environmental education resources, special events, and grant opportunities.

California Department of Education (CDE) Online Professional Learning Community
The CDE’s online professional learning community for Science educators throughout the state.

California Regional Environmental Education Community Network (CREEC Network) External link opens in new window or tab.
A network which provides educators with resources related to teaching students about the environment.

Career Technical Education: Engineering, Design, & Architectural (PDF)
Foundational information about the engineering and architecture sector pathways and occupations for students in California.

Recommended Literature List
This searchable list of books supports students, teachers, and families in finding books that will engage readers of varying skill levels in history-social science, science, visual and performing arts, as well as general literature.

Partner Resources

California Science Teacher Association (CSTA) External link opens in new window or tab.
CSTA provides resources related to teaching students about the science.

K-12 Science Learning Sequences External link opens in new window or tab.
K-12 learning sequences focusing on phenomena-based teaching and learning.

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science External link opens in new window or tab.
This site provides a database of case studies about science topics to make learning science relevant.

The National Science Digital Library External link opens in new window or tab.
A data bank of online educational resources for teaching science with an overall science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) emphasis. This is a metadata-based resource that organizes different providers offering a number of teaching and learning resources. Most resources adhere to the principles of Open Education Resource (OER).

STEM Teaching Tools External link opens in new window or tab.
OER for professional development, including all resources the facilitators would need.

Contacts

Assessment: Assessment Office; caaspp@cde.ca.gov; 916-445-8765
Professional Learning: Standards Implementation Support Office; stem@cde.ca.gov; 916-323-5847
State Standards and Framework: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881
Instructional Materials: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881

Assessment/Accountability

Information regarding graduation requirements and the California Science Test (CAST).

California Science Test

California Science Test
California’s new statewide student assessment system includes federally required science assessments in grades five, eight, and once in high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve).

Practice Tests External link opens in new window or tab.
Practice Tests provide a preview of the assessments, but do not reflect the full range of content that students may encounter on the actual assessments.

Key Messages from CDE
Site to help LEAs and school sites communicate about the CAST and the 2018–19 CAST results. Additional key messages will be provided shortly, so please be sure to check the web page regularly for updates.

California Science Test Blueprint
The CAST item specifications provide details on each assessed dimension of a California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS) Performance Expectation (PE).

Contacts

Assessment: Assessment Office; caaspp@cde.ca.gov; 916-445-8765
Professional Learning: Standards Implementation Support Office; stem@cde.ca.gov; 916-323-5847
State Standards and Framework: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881
Instructional Materials: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881

Organizations/Partnerships

Organizations at the state and national level that inform Science education and provides resources. 

State Award Programs

  • California Green Ribbon Schools Program
    Honors schools and school districts for excellence in whole-school sustainability: reduced environmental impact and cost; improved health and wellness; and exemplary environmental education, including STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.
  • Presidential Awards for Math & Science Teaching
    Honors outstanding science and mathematics teachers who are leaders in the improvement of science and mathematics education.

California Partners

  • California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) External link opens in new window or tab.
    CCSESA supports a regional system of education support for the California education system, including the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committees.
  • California Science Project External link opens in new window or tab. 
    The California Subject Matter Projects support ongoing quality professional learning for educators with activities and programs designed by university faculty, teacher leaders, and teacher practitioners to improve instructional practices that lead to increased achievement for all students.
  • California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) External link opens in new window or tab.
    CSTA represents science educators statewide, providing leadership opportunities for its members, advocating for policy to support science education, and supporting science professional development through an annual state conference for science educators.
  • K–12 Alliance at WestEd External link opens in new window or tab.
    As a project of WestEd, the K–12 Alliance unites the professional development programs to promote change and foster excellence in science and math education.
  • California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) External link opens in new window or tab.
    Information about obtaining California teaching authorization.
  • Teaching California (CalTEACH) External link opens in new window or tab. 
    Services for individuals considering or pursuing a teaching career in the areas of science, mathematics, and special education.

National Partners

  • Achieve NGSS Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
    Achieve is a national organization that works to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability.
  • National Academy of Sciences (NAS) External link opens in new window or tab.
    Established by an Act of Congress, NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.
  • National Science Teachers Association External link opens in new window or tab.
    Organization committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Electronic Mailing List

Join the STEM-Education and Environmental-Science electronic mailing lists by sending a blank email to join-stem-education@mlist.cde.ca.gov and to join-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to unsubscribe-stem-education@mlist.cde.ca.gov and unsubscribe-environmental-science@mlist.cde.ca.gov

Contacts

Assessment: Assessment Office; caaspp@cde.ca.gov; 916-445-8765
Professional Learning: Standards Implementation Support Office; stem@cde.ca.gov; 916-323-5847
State Standards and Framework: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881
Instructional Materials: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881

Families/Students

Information and resources for families that explain Science instruction used today and provide suggestions for supporting their child’s academic success.

California Resources

Parent Resources for Understanding Assessments
Resources that answer key questions (what, why, who, how, and when) about California's assessment programs. Information is also included about how parents can support their student's success in science.

Preliminary Indicator Communication Toolkit
To help LEAs during this transition period, the CDE has developed a toolkit of resources to communicate about the new standards and provide guidance on releasing student results for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science field test.

Science Brochures for Parents/Guardians

History of Adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards for California

The history of the California adoption of the national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is located on the History of Adoption of NGSS for California web page.

Contacts

Assessment: Assessment Office; caaspp@cde.ca.gov; 916-445-8765
Professional Learning: Standards Implementation Support Office; stem@cde.ca.gov; 916-323-5847
State Standards and Framework: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881
Instructional Materials: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division; CFIRD@cde.ca.gov; 916-319-0881
Questions: Standards Implementation Support Office | stem@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 17, 2019
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