COMET • Vol. 12, No. 19 – 31 October 2011


State Board of Education to Discuss Progress in Implementing the Common Core State Standards into the State Educational System at its November Meeting


The third item on the agenda for the November 9 meeting of the California State Board of Education (SBE) is an update of the activities of the SBE and the California Department of Education regarding the state’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards. This agenda item presents a comprehensive overview of key issues, previous State Board discussions and actions, the CCSS Systems Implementation Plan (Seven Guiding Strategies), implementation activities (i.e., frameworks, assessments, professional learning and teacher preparation, etc.), and related legislation. The comprehensive Agenda Item document is available for download from  In addition, a presentation file is available at

Two additional agenda items that COMET readers may find interesting and useful are Items 4 (“Update on the Next Generation of Science Standards”) and 5 (“Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA]: Principles and Requirements for a Waiver of Selected Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to Implement a Specific Statewide Accountability System for All California Local Educational Agencies in Advance of [ESEA] Reauthorization”). Follow these links to download the agenda items:
Item 4 —
Item 5 —

A live webcast of the November 9 SBE meeting can be viewed at


MSRI Conference — Critical Issues in Mathematics Education 2012: Teacher Education in View of the Common Core

Source: Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)

The wide adoption of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) offers a helpful curricular coherence to the environment of teacher education. The adoption of the CCSSM presents both an opportunity and a challenge to teacher education–an opportunity because of the greater focus made possible and a challenge because of the ambitious level of the Standards for Mathematical Content, as well as the prominent role of the Standards for Mathematical Practice (  Much needs to be done to make these meaningfully understood and enacted effectively by teachers and teacher educators.  The goal of the 2012 “Critical Issues in Mathematics Education” (CiME) workshop is to gather and stimulate ideas for how to meet this opportunity and challenge.

The workshop is being organized by Dave Auckly, Hyman Bass, Amy Cohen-Corwin, and Bill McCallum. It will be held at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California on 21-23 March 2012. Registration is currently open and closes on March 21. For more information, please visit email 


California State University System Joins National STEM Initiative

Source: California State University


The California State University (CSU) system has joined ”100Kin10,” a multisector movement composed of more than 80 partners committed to recruiting, developing and retaining 100,000 excellent STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers over the next decade. Led by the Carnegie Corporation of New York ( and the Opportunity Equation (, the partners include Google, NASA, and the New York City Department of Education, among others.

As part of its commitment, the CSU will prepare 1,500 new math and science teachers annually through 2015. At least half will teach in high-need schools for at least three years, and 10 percent will earn dual certification, addressing the needs of hard-to-staff schools.

The initiative was originally announced at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Meeting in Chicago in June 2011, where President Clinton urged corporations, foundations, and other interested organizations to take part. At the seventh Annual Meeting of CGI in New York City last month, President Obama reiterated the imperative: “[Our future] demands that we give every child the skills and education they need to succeed. And I thank you for the commitment that you made to recruit and train tens of thousands of new science, technology, engineering, and math teachers. Nothing could be more important.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has lauded the 100Kin10 initiative, saying: “President Obama and I believe that recruiting and preparing 100,000 excellent new teachers in the STEM fields is essential for our students’ success in the 21st century knowledge economy. We need an all-hands-on-deck strategy to make this happen. I applaud the work of Carnegie Corporation and the Opportunity Equation and the 80 organizations including corporations, universities, non-profits, states, and districts that are coming together under the banner of ‘100Kin10’ to provide our students with a world-class education in the STEM subjects.”

A dozen corporate and foundation partners have created an initial funding base of nearly $20 million in pledges that can be allocated to any of the 100Kin10 partner organizations at the discretion of the funder. More information, including a complete list of partners and their commitments, is available on the 100Kin10 website ( 

Related Articles

“STEM: The Future of The Cal State University”

Source: Los Angeles Times

…The Corporation for National & Community Service…provided the CSU system with a Learn and Serve America grant… This grant program is called STEM^2 (Service learning Transforming Educational Models in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The landmark program aims to produce graduates who can apply their STEM knowledge to serve and strengthen local California businesses and communities…


Report: “Lining Up: The Relationship Between the Common Core State Standards and Five Sets of Comparison Standards”


The Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) recently completed an alignment study on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The study determined the extent of correspondence (alignment) between the exit level Common Core State Standards [for mathematics and for English language arts] and each of five sets of existing standards: California and Massachusetts state standards, the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards, the Knowledge and Skills for University Success, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

The comparison standards were selected because they were either identified as exemplary state standards, were explicitly written at the college readiness level, or represented a rigorous instructional program focused on college readiness. The study addressed three research questions:

1. To what extent are the knowledge and skills found in the comparison standards the same as or different from what is described in the Common Core State Standards? (match)

2. What is the cognitive complexity level of the Common Core State Standards and to what extent are the matched comparison standards at a higher or lower level of cognitive complexity? (depth)

3. How broadly do the matched comparison standards cover the content of the Common Core State Standards? (breadth)
In the case of mathematics, the CCSS met or exceeded the content and cognitive complexity of the state standards. For more details, download the full report at  A presentation file from last week’s webinar is available at and a video of the webinar is available at

The text below is from the Executive Summary (


As of October 2011, 44 states and the District of Columbia had officially adopted the [Common Core State Standards]. This widespread potential implementation of the Common Core standards has led to interest by states and national organizations regarding the relationship between these new standards and existing systems of standards. Are the Common Core standards aligned with the standards states and others have developed over many years? Are they as challenging? Do they cover the same topic areas with the same emphases?…

The overall results of the study suggest substantial concurrence between the Common Core standards and the comparison standards, with somewhat greater alignment in mathematics than in ELA and literacy. For ELA and literacy, 36 of 40 analyses at the strand level meet the Categorical Concurrence criterion. For mathematics, all 25 analyses at the conceptual category level meet the Categorical Concurrence criterion.

The findings suggest general consistency between the cognitive challenge level of the Common Core standards and the five comparison standard sets. Mathematics shows somewhat more consistency of cognitive challenge than do the ELA and literacy standards. In ELA and literacy, 17 of 36 strand-level analyses indicate that the comparison standard sets are at or above the level of the Common Core standards. For mathematics, 19 of 25 conceptual category-level analyses indicate that the comparison standard sets are at or above the level of the Common Core standards. Overall, the standards from the comparison sets tend to cover the breadth of topics contained in the Common Core standards. For ELA and literacy, 37 of 40 strand analyses show strong coverage. For mathematics, findings suggest that comparison sets show strong coverage of all 25 conceptual category analyses. While every standard in the Common Core standards may not have a match with each and every set of comparison standards, the topics around which the Common Core standards are organized are reflected in the comparison standards with a high degree of frequency…


The 2011 Nation’s Report Cards in Mathematics and Reading will be Released Tomorrow

Source: IES (Institute of Education Sciences) Newsflash

On November 1 at 8:00 a.m. PT, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will release The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2011 and The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2011. A panel of educational experts will discuss the results in a live webinar. To register for a unique URL to view the event, visit

These reports contain national and state-level results from the NAEP Mathematics and Reading assessments for students in grades 4 and 8. The results will be available at following the formal release.

In addition to the 8 a.m. PT report release webinar, Associate Commissioner Peggy G. Carr will discuss the findings online in a moderated chat format at 11 a.m. PT on November 1 at  To submit a question in advance, please visit


New Initiative for Secondary Mathematics Teacher Preparation: Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership

Source: Kacy Redd, Assistant Director, Science & Mathematics Education Policy, 
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) –

Kacy Redd writes:

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted by the response to the 2011 APLU (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities) Forum, “Higher Education and the Common Core State Standards,” held on October 13, 2011. The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and recently released science framework, prompted our convening a discussion on how higher education can help meet the challenges introduced by the release of these standards. One such challenge is preparing teachers who are ready to teach to these new higher standards. We invite you to view the video of the event, a copy of the discussion paper, and the presentations by each of our speakers on the APLU Forum website (

The discussion was framed by the paper: Common Core State Standards and Teacher Preparation: The Role of Higher Education, which APLU released at the Forum. This discussion paper was written by a university working group established under the auspices of The Leadership Collaborative–supported by an NSF Math and Science Partnership grant of APLU’s Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative.

We also take great pride in announcing the formation of the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership, a new initiative to prepare high-quality secondary mathematics teachers who are ready to teach the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Part of APLU’s growing Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI), the MTE-Partnership will establish collaborations across the nation among groups of colleges and universities, middle and high schools, and other organizations to redesign mathematics teacher preparation programs. The initial planning year is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

We invite you to visit the APLU Forum website ( and share it with your colleagues.

Related Articles

“Project Aims to Tie Teacher Prep to Common Math Standards” by Erik Robelen

Source: Education Week – 14 October 2011

At a time when many people are wondering how the common standards will find their way into the classrooms, a higher education group has just launched a new initiative to prepare new secondary math teachers to do just that.

The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership aims to redesign mathematics teacher preparation programs through a collaborative approach that brings together colleges and universities, middle and high schools, and other organizations…


New Report: “High Hopes–Few Opportunities: The Status of Elementary Science Education in California”

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

Despite the focus on STEM at the state and national levels, a new report released by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd provides evidence that little science is actually being taught at the K-6 level in California’s schools. The full report can be downloaded from the URL above. A portion of the report’s Executive Summary is included below:


…This report addresses how well California is doing to prepare its young people for [today’s] evolving economy and societal challenges. Specifically, it describes the status of science teaching and learning in California public elementary schools…

The report synthesizes findings from multiple sources of data collected during 2010–11: surveys of district administrators, elementary school principals, and elementary school teachers; case studies of elementary schools; and data available through existing statewide datasets. It is one in a series of reports designed to provide timely and actionable information about the status of science education in California and to identify ways it can be strengthened. The central finding of this report points to the need for significant improvement: children rarely encounter high-quality science learning opportunities in California elementary schools because the conditions that would support them are rarely in place.

Science Learning in California Classrooms

Few children have the opportunity to engage in high-quality science learning in California elementary schools. Only about 10% of the students in the state experience science instruction that regularly engages them in the practices of science–the vision of quality science learning offered by the National Research Council (NRC) (2007, 2011). Moreover, because of the limited time spent on science in California classrooms, elementary school students receive little exposure to any type of science instruction. Disturbingly, 40% of elementary teachers in grades K–5 in our survey reported that their students receive 60 minutes or less of science instruction per week.
Accountability requirements explain in part the lack of time for elementary science. Despite their desire to teach science, teachers are under pressure to concentrate on English language arts and mathematics, which limits the amount of time available for science and other subjects. Yet some teachers, schools, and districts have found ways to bring science into the school day. Some do so by integrating sciences with other content areas, most often with English language arts. Teachers who frequently integrated science with other subjects offered science an average of 130 minutes a week, compared with an average of 94 minutes per week for teachers who rarely or never integrated science.

The Conditions That Shape Science Learning Opportunities

Several factors influence the quality of science learning opportunities: teachers, instructional materials, and assessments of student progress.

Teachers. Few elementary school teachers have strong science backgrounds, and the support they receive to teach science once they are in the profession is minimal. Although almost 90% of teachers surveyed felt very prepared to teach English language arts and mathematics, only about one third felt very prepared to teach science. Yet opportunities for professional development for elementary school teachers are scarce: More than 85% have not received any science-related professional development in the last 3 years. Teachers, principals, and district administrators all acknowledged that this lack of professional development opportunities is a challenge to providing science instruction in elementary schools.

Instructional materials and facilities. Elementary school teachers want materials that are engaging and offer opportunities for their students to do hands-on science activities. Teachers report limited funds for equipment and supplies (66%) and lack of facilities (56%) present a major or moderate challenge to providing science instruction. Unfortunately, teachers in schools serving higher percentages of students in poverty were more likely to report lack of facilities as a major challenge to providing science instruction than were teachers in more affluent schools.

Assessing student progress. California administers only one statewide science assessment at the elementary level (in fifth grade), and it does not capture all the important learning outcomes related to science. Few schools or districts have established local systems to monitor student progress and thus teachers have no systematic data on students’ science knowledge until they have been in elementary school for 6 years (K–5). Sixty-six percent of California elementary teachers reported that they receive little to no support in assessing their students’ science learning. Unfortunately, teachers in elementary schools serving higher percentages of students in poverty were more likely to report receiving limited or no support for assessing their students’ science learning than teachers in elementary schools serving lower percentages of students in poverty…


California citizens, parents, and educators recognize the importance of education that prepares all students for careers and college. However, the California education system is far from meeting these ideals. Students do not have the opportunities they need to participate in high-quality science learning experiences because the conditions for doing so rarely exist. California needs but does not have a coherent system that enables teachers and schools to consistently provide students with such experiences.

Over the past decade, the infrastructure for supporting science education in California has eroded significantly. As a whole, California needs a new road map for supporting science learning in public schools. Strengthening science education must be a priority.


Kavli’s “Save the World Through Science & Engineering” Video Contest


The Kavli Foundation has announced a competition where students in grades 6-12 brainstorm and share their ideas about how to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges through using science and engineering. Students are invited to submit video entries and compete for cash awards and other prizes. Winning videos will be shown at the 2nd USA Science and Engineering Festival on 27-29 April 2012 in Washington, DC. The first place winner will receive a travel stipend to attend the Expo, as well as other prizes.

For details, visit Entries will be accepted through 1 March 2012.