COMET • Vol. 13, No. 13 – 2 November 2012


Your Opinion about Educational Technology in California Schools is Requested

Source: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

On October 30, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sent a letter to county and district superintendents urging widespread participation in the national Speak Up 2012 California Survey. In his letter, Supt. Torlakson wrote the following:

“…This survey, developed by Project Tomorrow, provides a critical opportunity for local stakeholder voices to directly impact national and state efforts to promote positive, effective use of technology to transform teaching and learning…

“Participation in Speak Up is free. Project Tomorrow has already registered all California schools to participate: all you have to do is encourage your students, teachers, parents, technology leaders, and administrators to go online and take the 20-minute survey on the Project Tomorrow Speak Up Web page at … The survey password to access the California survey is su4ca.

“Participation in this survey is consistent with the work of my Education Technology Task Force and our efforts to develop a Blueprint for Digital Learning in California…[and will provide] us with important data. You can learn more about my Education Technology Task Force initiative by visiting the California Department of Education California Education Technology Blueprint Web page at

“All information is completely confidential. The survey takes less than 20 minutes to complete. Each participating institution will receive a free online report in February 2013 aggregating all local data with national data to use for comparative benchmarking and local advocacy….

“The Speak Up National Research Project collects and reports on the authentic, unfiltered views and opinions views and opinions of K-12 students, parents, and educators on critical 21st century education and technology issues [such as the Common Core State Standards and Flipped Classrooms]. Since 2003, over 2.6 million K-12 education stakeholders have participated in the annual online surveys. Data findings are shared each year with federal, state, and local policymakers to inform education programs, policies, and funding…

“Contact Jenny Hostert by e-mail at on the Speak Up Team if you have any questions about this program. If you have questions about California’s participation, you may contact Barbara Ross, Education Programs Consultant, Education Technology Office, by phone at 916-323-5298 or by e-mail at”

Related Articles

Town Hall Teleconference: “Education Technology: The Revolution in Digital & Distance Learning”

Source: STEMConnector

On November 28, from 10 a.m.- noon PST, STEMconnector will host a Town Hall teleconference entitled, “Education Technology: The Revolution in Digital & Distance Learning.” This teleconference will cover developments in K-12, Post-Secondary Education and Continuing Education, Innovation and Policy, and Content Personalization/Data Analytics. STEMconnector has assembled leaders in each of these fields to present on the future of Education Technology and Digital Learning across the education spectrum.


State Board of Education to Discuss Curriculum Standards, Instructional Materials, and Assessment and Accountability Programs at Next Week’s Meeting

Source: California State Board of Education

The agenda for next week’s meeting of the California State Board of Education contains a number of items that may be of particular interest to mathematics and science educators. Visit for a link to the full agenda, as well as a link to a live webcast on November 7-8.

–  Agenda Item 3 provides an update (September-November 2012) on the state’s Common Core State Standards Systems Implementation Plan (download from

– Agenda Item 6 (Supplemental Instructional Materials review Aligned to the Common Core State Standards) is highlighted in the next item in this issue of COMET.

– Agenda Item 8 provides an update on Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Activities (download from This agenda item is related to Agenda Item 11: “Discussion Regarding Priorities for California’s Future Assessment System.” A detailed presentation of the state’s assessment goals and options is available for download from  Excerpt from page 5: “The [State Superintendent of Public Instruction] and the [California Department of Education] are committed to designing an assessment system that includes a variety of assessment approaches and item types that has as its primary purpose to model and promote high quality teaching and student learning activities.” An excellent one-page chart summarizing (by grade level) the “Range of Assessments Required by State and Federal Laws and Proposed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)” is available at

– Agenda Item 10 presents a useful overview of the “State Board of Education Implementation System for Standards, Assessment, and Accountability.” Excerpt from page 1 (
“With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in August 2010, and the upcoming reauthorization of the statewide pupil assessment program in 2014, California is uniquely poised to update policies that link curriculum, instructional materials, assessment, and accountability in a coherent education system. This paper describes work completed to date and identifies future activities of the State Board of Education (SBE)…” Appendix A presents a detailed schematic of the “Statewide Implementation System for Assessment, Standards, and Accountability Programs.” Appendix B presents a useful overview of “Planned Implementation of Assessment, Standards, and Accountability Programs.” This information is included below:


–  Statewide Pupil Assessment Reauthorization Report to Legislature and State Board
–  Submission to the State Board of Education (SBE) of Supplemental Instructional Materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English-language arts (ELA) and mathematics
–  Submission of the English Language Development (ELD) Standards to the SBE
–  SBE appoints ELA Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Committee


January – Submission of career technical education model curriculum standards to the SBE
February – Supplemental instructional materials review report posted online
–  Anticipated submission of modified mathematics standards and anchor standards to the SBE
–  Draft mathematics framework presented to the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC)
–  Submission of review criteria for mathematics instructional materials to the SBE
Spring – Pilot testing of Smarter Balanced summative assessments
June – Draft mathematics framework presented to SBE
September – Draft English-language arts (ELA)/ELD framework presented to IQC
–  Submission of Next Generation Science Standards to the SBE
–  Submission of mathematics frameworks to the SBE


January – IQC recommends draft ELA/ELD framework to the State Board
–  Submission of mathematics instructional materials for adoption by the SBE
–  Submission of draft ELA/ELD supplementary instructional materials list to the SBE
Spring – Field testing of Smarter Balanced Assessment summative assessments
–  Submission of ELA/ELD frameworks to the SBE
–  Submission of ELA/ELD supplementary instructional materials list for approval by the SBE


Spring  – Administer operational Smarter Balanced summative assessments


State Board of Education to Approve Supplemental Instructional Materials Aligned to the Common Core State Standards at Next Week’s Meeting

URL (Agenda)

The agenda for next Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting contains an action item to consider approval of recommended supplemental instructional materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Text from this agenda item appears below and can be downloaded from

…The State Superintendent of Public Instruction has invited publishers of instructional materials in mathematics and language arts to submit supplemental instructional materials that bridge the gap between programs currently being used by local educational agencies (LEAs) and the CCSS.

The criteria called for two categories of submission: supplements to specific currently state-adopted programs (Category 1), and general supplements that could be used with any program currently being used by LEAs (Category 2). The criteria covered supplements for kindergarten through grade seven in mathematics…

Publisher interest was very high, and in May 2012 the CDE received 42 submissions for mathematics (8 Category 1, and 34 Category 2)… However, recruitment of reviewers in mathematics did not keep pace with the number of submissions. Due to the low turnout and high attrition among the mathematics reviewers, the California Department of Education (CDE) temporarily suspended the Category 2 review in mathematics on June 19, 2012. The review continued for Category 1 in mathematics…

The review was conducted by instructional material reviewers and content experts approved by the SBE at its March 2012 meeting. The reviewers were trained by CDE staff in late June at two two-day meetings held…at the Orange County Department of Education… The reviewers then reviewed the materials at their home or workplace throughout the summer. They reconvened again in panels in September at the county sites for three days of deliberations, during which they developed reports of findings on each of the supplemental instructional materials programs that they were assigned to review.

The CDE is recommending 12 supplemental instructional materials programs in English language arts and 7 in mathematics. A full list of the 7 mathematics programs [is included below]. The full reports of findings are posted on the CDE SIMR Web site at [This Web site also includes a list of submitted mathematics materials in Category 2.]

The CDE held a public meeting to solicit public comment on the submitted supplemental instructional materials on October 17, 2012. The public comments received were all forwarded to the SBE office. The CDE is hosting an appeals meeting to address social content citations and edits and corrections on November 15.

The review is not a state adoption, and the supplemental instructional materials will not be added to any existing state adoption lists. Once approved, the CDE will post the list of recommended materials on its Supplemental Instructional Materials Review (SIMR) Web site:  Districts are under no obligation to purchase the recommended supplemental instructional materials. LEAs may use unrestricted general funds, federal funds, Proposition 20 lottery funds for instructional materials, or other funds to purchase them.


Mathematics supplemental instructional materials recommended for approval:

1. McGraw-Hill Education – My California Math Supplement – Gr. K-5

2. McGraw-Hill Education – Everyday Math CCSS Supplement – Gr. K-6

3. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – California Common Core Math – Gr. K-6

4. Pearson Scott Foresman – envision Math – Gr. K-5

5. Holt McDougal – California Math Curriculum Companion – Gr. 6-7

6. McGraw-Hill Education – Cinch Math – Gr. 6-7

7. Pearson Prentice Hall – Prentice Hall Mathematics – Gr. 6-7


LAUSD Unveils State-of-the-Art Science Center Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

Source: 89.3 KPCC Public Radio – 29 October 2012

Los Angeles Unified unveiled a state-of-the-art science facility in Glassell Park on Monday (10.29.12) that bears the name of the late astronaut Sally Ride in hopes of inspiring a new generation of students to pursue careers in math and science.

The Sally Ride Center for Environmental Science is a $4.8 million LEED-certified facility that sits behind the Sonia M. Sotomayor Learning Academies. The 6,000 square foot facility, less than a mile from the L.A. River, includes three state-of-the-art labs that will focus on areas such as hydrology and energy. The labs have high-tech, professional grade equipment, including a photovoltaic demonstration system, a centrifuge, and field spectrometers.

The site will be used not only as a hands-on science lab for students who will conduct water and soil testing and energy conservation research, but also to train teachers.

Sally Ride’s mother and sister were at Monday’s ceremony.

“This is the sort of thing that Sally would have been absolutely delighted about,” said her sister, Bear Ride. Sally Ride was an L.A. Unified alum who attended Encino Elementary School and Portola Junior High School.

Bear Ride said her sister had been deeply influenced by her math and science teachers.

“In fact, all the astronauts I know tell stories about their teachers pushing in the old black and white TV sets to watch John Glenn being launched into space, and it was those teachers who really caught the imagination of kids,” Ride said.

They “learned that if you’re curious about how stuff works or why things happen, science is the way to go. There are different ways to get at that, but I think curiosity is the way to do it, hands on stuff. And this is what this center’s all about,” said Ride.

The facility was built and equipped primarily by a state grant to support career technical education (, said L.A. Unified Board member Bennett Kayser. The facility will likely not open to all students until next fall…

Sally Ride was the first American woman to fly in space and youngest U.S. astronaut in 1983. The then-32-year-old physicist and science writer was an inspiration to many women who considered pursuing careers in science and engineering. Ride, who died earlier this year, passionately championed efforts to involve young people, and especially girls, in the sciences.

L.A. Unified officials hope the center will serve as a hub for students at many schools in the area. The district has about 100 campuses that are less than a mile from the L.A. River, Kayser said…


Technology and Engineering Literacy Framework for the 2014 NAEP

Source: National Assessment Governing Board
URL (Interactive Framework)

Because of the growing importance of technology and engineering in the educational landscape, the National Assessment Governing Board ( sought to create the first national assessment in technology and engineering literacy. The 2014 Abridged National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Technology and Engineering framework(available online at describes the essential knowledge and skills that will be assessed on the NAEP Technology and Engineering Literacy Assessment in 2014.

In the framework, technology is defined as “any modification of the natural world done to fulfill human needs or desires” and engineering is “a systematic and often iterative approach to designing objects, processes, and systems to meet human needs and wants.” The framework broadly defines technological and engineering literacy as “the capacity to use, understand, and evaluate technology as well as to understand technological principles and strategies needed to develop solutions and achieve goals.”

The framework is divided into three major areas:

1. Technology and Society:

2. Design and Systems:

3. Information and Communication Technology:

Visit to view video clips of sample technology and engineering scenarios for the framework and test items.


Successful K-12 STEM Education Publication and Workshop Series


The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Board on Science Education and Board on Testing and Assessment to gather evidence on effective K-12 STEM education practices (teaching, instructional resources, and education system strategies). The resulting NRC report, Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is available online at the Web site above.

According to this report, a successful STEM program would increase the number of students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields, enhance the STEM-capable workforce, and boost STEM literacy for all students. Another critical goal would be to broaden the participation of women and minorities in STEM fields.

Successful K-12 STEM Education examines the vast landscape of K-12 STEM education by considering different school models, highlighting research on effective STEM education practices, and identifying some conditions that promote or limit school- and student-level success in STEM.

Over the past year, NSF has hosted a series of conferences around the United States entitled, “STEM Smart: Lessons Learned 
From Successful Schools.” Each of these conferences has included breakout sessions on projects, resources, and initiatives that aligned with the NRC report’s evidence base on effective instruction, access to high quality STEM for all students, and building supportive infrastructure. Links to the conference agendas can be found at 


Center on Instruction Offers Searchable Database of Online STEM Resources

Visit the Web site above to access the Center on Instruction’s interactive database of online STEM resources (e.g., archived webinars, publications, and research reports).