COMET • Vol. 2, No. 24 – 17 September 2001


(1) Energy Education Grants Program

Source: State and Consumer Services Agency
Web link:

California K-12 teachers can receive grants up to $3,000 to support innovative projects to teach energy conservation and efficiency to their students under a new $1 million grant program by the State and Consumer Services Agency (SCSA). Funding for these grants to teachers was made available through Senate Bill 5x, which provided $7 million for programs to teach school children about energy conservation at home and in school. The Energy Education Grants program is designed to allow different types of teachers–art, science, math, English, history, drama, and others–to develop creative approaches to teach energy conservation and efficiency lessons to students. Projects might include science exhibits, energy conservation murals, classroom projects, energy audits, and field trips. Grant applications will be reviewed and awarded on an on-going basis, but must be received no later than December 1, 2001. For more information, contact Claudie Kiti at 916/651-8792.


(2) “CSU Pushes New Test to Replace SAT” by Tanya Schevitz

Source: San Francisco Chronicle – 7 September 2001
Web link:

A top official of the California State University called yesterday for a single test for 11th-graders that would do double duty as the state’s assessment test and a college placement exam.

The test could replace the 23 campus system’s English and math placement exams as well as the SAT – all which help determine whether students need to take remedial courses.

“Meeting the state’s standards would not only mean success in high school, but placement at a CSU,” David Spence, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for CSU, told members of the state Board of Education. “Even more force and focus would be lent to the California standards, and it would mean less testing for everybody.”

California is in the forefront of a movement to offer a single test for both purposes, Spence said.

The state is poised to pass legislation that would allow the board, which was meeting yesterday at the state education building in Sacramento, to restructure its testing program to include assessments of recently adopted grade-level standards…

CSU currently accepts the top one-third of all California high school graduates. But unless students pass writing and math placement exams or get at least a 550 on both the SAT verbal and math portions, they must take remedial courses in math and English.

CSU has long wanted to offer its placement exams in 11th grade to give students who fail them a chance to catch up during their senior year of high school. But the idea has been impeded by funding restraints and critics who say it would overburden high school students, who already take a battery of state exams.

John Mockler, executive director for the California Board of Education, said the board was encouraged by Spence’s remarks and would formally start work on the issue…

In addition, aligning the high school standards tests with requirements for college provides a motivation for students, he said. “It makes the standards relevant,” Mockler said. “Now, you can tell kids in high school that these are not meaningless.”

Meanwhile, University of California President Richard Atkinson told the board yesterday UC would like to see the state’s standards aligned with the 15 rigorous courses required for admission to UC.

He noted that in February he had called on UC’s eight undergraduate campuses to drop the SAT I basic aptitude exam in admissions and replace it with an achievement exam tied closely to the curriculum for college-bound students.

“We want to send a message to students that if they indeed master the curriculum, they will do well on these achievement exams,” Atkinson said.


(3) Mathematics Education Update from the California Department of Education (CDE)

Source: Thomas Lester, Mathematics Consultant; (916) 323-4819;
(Thomas Lester, Susan Iida, and Bill Tarr contributed to this update.)

Statewide Infrastructure

The Department is continuing to work closely with representatives from major mathematical entities to discuss, advise and develop a support system for a consistent and coherent staff development program for leaders of mathematics in the state. The goal will be to support and assist the teachers to gain the mathematical knowledge needed to teach the content standards. In addition, this effort will assist teachers in developing the necessary skills to choose textbooks most appropriate for their students as they prepare for the state assessments such as the HSEE and the STAR Content Standards Test (a.k.a. Augmentation Test).

In the summer the Department hired mathematics personnel from San Joaquin COE, Riverside COE, and Alameda COE to work with the Mathematics and Science Leadership Unit to pilot a possible model infrastructure. Garry Potten, Judy Anderson, and Victor Gee are part of the mathematics team working with Thomas Lester, Susan Iida and Yvonne Evans from the Department to form a Mathematics Team.

One of the first tasks of the Mathematics Team will be to jointly work with representatives from CISC (Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee), UCOP (University of California Office of the President), CMC (California Mathematics Council), the Community Colleges, the California Mathematics Project, and other groups in designing a series of staff development sessions. These sessions would support the implementation of the new Mathematics and Reading Professional Development Program (AB 466) recently developed by the Governor and Legislature. On September 18, the California Department of Education (CDE) will collaborate with these representatives to continue the development of the model infrastructure for staff development. This group will also network the current professional development efforts in California such as AB 1331 and the College Readiness Program as well as AB 466 under a clear and consistent plan for mathematics professional development.

AB 466 would establish, until July 1, 2005, the Mathematics and Reading Professional Development Program, to be administered by the Superintendent of Public Instruction with the approval of the State Board of Education under which a local education agency (LEA), would receive incentive funding to provide training in mathematics and reading to teachers and instructional aides through professional development programs conducted by institutions of higher education (IHE) or an approved provider of training.

Instruction conducted by the IHEs or approved providers shall consist of an intensive, sustained training period of no less than 40 hours nor more than 120 hours during the summer, an intersession break, or an equivalent instructor-led, online course. In addition, the following school year shall be supplemented with no fewer than 80 additional hours nor more than 120 additional hours of instruction and schoolsite meetings, held on at least a monthly basis with a focus on the academic progress of that school’s pupils in mathematics.

The infrastructure will be the vehicle that will support districts, especially in the follow-up staff development for all of this funding. The infrastructure will also be in place to continue to support the teachers in mathematics on an on-going basis.

AB 1331

With GOALS 2000 funding, previous grantees of AB 1331 applied for an increase in allocation per participating teacher. About 120 grants ($31 million) were funded to continue to provide professional development in mathematics from an approved provider. Conditions of the grant are 30 hours of intensive mathematics content per teacher grades 4-7 and 48 hours for Algebra and above. An additional condition of the grant is that each teacher receives 20 hours of follow-up/coaching. Currently, and throughout this final year of the grant which ends June 2002, CDE and members of the Mathematics Team will be making visitations to training sessions and schools sites.

College Readiness Program

The College Readiness Program (CRP) provided funding for clusters of 3 to 5 middle schools consisting of grades 6, 7, and 8. Each cluster developed a plan for the professional development of the cluster’s teachers in mathematics with the goal of increasing the number of students who successfully complete Algebra by the 8th grade. Twenty-one applications were received from which 6 clusters were funded. These clusters are Mt. Diablo, Fresno Unified, Stanislaus COE, Snowline Unified, Vista Unified, and Sacramento COE. CDE staff is currently working with the cluster’s coach, LEA, and CSU contacts. Quarterly information meetings of the grantees will be scheduled to network the clusters as well as connect the grantees with the pilot model infrastructure.

For information regarding AB 1331 and the College Readiness Program, contact Susan Iida at (916) 323-4694 or email

The Literature List for Science and Mathematics

A committee of nearly 60 librarians, teachers in grades K- 12, and CDE have met to develop a list containing quality literature in the content areas of Science and Mathematics. Nearly 800 titles currently make up the list. Among the criteria the committee must consider are the quality of the literature to engage the learner, the connection to the academic content standards for mathematics and science where applicable, and grade level appropriateness. It is expected the list will undergo an annual update and be available online.

The Mathematics Assessment Program in California

Since a single test cannot assess all students for all purposes, the California assessment system includes multiple programs. Each assessment tool, or test, is used for a specific purpose. It is important for teachers and administrators to familiarize themselves with both the structure of the tests and the purpose of each test in order to better ensure their students’ success on these assessment tools. It is also important to note that teaching to a particular test does not insure proficiency on standards that are assessed by other instruments, so the key to a strong instructional program in mathematics is to ensure that students master the mathematics content standards, not specific test content.

There are two mandated testing programs currently in California, the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR), and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). The STAR Program was authorized in 1997 to measure how well students are learning basic academic skills. This program has undergone significant refinement to better evaluate student performance, so it is important to be aware of the latest requirements. The goals of the STAR Program have not changed however, and those goals are to assess each student’s achievement in relation to a national sample of students tested in the same grade, and to determine each student’s achievement of the California content standards. The test results are also used to evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs throughout the state and to provide school and district accountability. This is to ensure all students are given equal access to a rigorous and challenging curriculum in order to provide them with the tools they will need for success in an ever-increasing complex world.

The second California testing program, the CAHSEE, was authorized in 1999 and currently affects all students, beginning with the graduating class of 2004. The purpose of the CAHSEE is to increase student achievement in high school. A passing grade on the CAHSEE is a condition of receiving a high school diploma of graduation or of graduating high school. This can help ensure those students who graduate from high school can demonstrate competency in the content standards for English-language arts and mathematics as adopted by the State Board of Education in 1997.


There are some important changes being considered for the STAR Program, but currently, all students in grades 2-11 must take tests in mathematics, including students learning English and students in special education programs. For 2001-02, students will be assessed using the Stanford Achievement Test, 9th Edition, Form T (Stanford 9), and the California Standards Tests. All Spanish-speaking English learners in grades 2-11 enrolled in California public schools less than 12 months are also required to take the mathematics portion of the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education, Second Edition (SABE/2). Both the Stanford 9 and the SABE/2 are given to students in grades 2-11 and are norm-referenced tests. The Stanford 9 compares our students’ mathematics performance to that of students across the nation, and the SABE/2 compares our students’ mathematics performance to that of Spanish speaking students enrolled in bilingual classes in 12 other states. One important note is that the 2001-02 school year will be the last year the Stanford 9 will be administered. There will be a norm referenced test administered in 2002-03, but the specific test instrument has not been specified at this time.

The California Standards Tests (CSTs), part of the STAR Program, are criterion-referenced tests that measure our students’ proficiency on the Mathematics Content Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, adopted by the California State Board of Education in December, 1997. Those standards specify the mathematics content for all students in grades 2-7. In grades 8-11 however, the standards are organized by discipline (algebra I, geometry, algebra II, etc.). The CSTs mirror this approach, and are given to all students in grades 2-7. The CSTs in mathematics for grades 8-11 however, are based on course enrollment and completion. All students in grades 8-11 who will complete algebra I, geometry, algebra II, or 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year integrated mathematics are required to take the test for the highest math course they will complete during the 2001-02 school year. This is the same as in previous years, but there are two major changes teachers and administrators should be aware of.

Changes to the CSTs in grades 8 through 11:

The Grade 11 Test has been changed to the California High School Mathematics Standards Test. All students in grades 9-11 who completed algebra II, 3rd year integrated mathematics or higher mathematics courses before or during the 2001-02 school year are now required to take this test.

* Students in grades 8 and 9 who are not enrolled in standards-based, discipline specific mathematics courses will be given a new California General Mathematics Standards Test for grades 8 and 9. This test is closely aligned to the content of the CAHSEE and should provide schools and districts with useful information in preparing these students both for algebra I and for the mathematics portion of the CAHSEE.



The mathematics part of the CAHSEE addresses the state content standards through algebra I. The exam includes probability and statistics, number sense, algebra and functions, measurement and geometry, and algebra I. Students are also asked to demonstrate a strong foundation in arithmetic, including working with decimals, fractions, and percents.

Volunteer students in grade 9 took the CAHSEE in spring 2001. In spring 2002, students in grade 10 who did not take the exam, or took it but did not pass one or both parts, will participate in the second administration of the CAHSEE. The 2002 exam will again be voluntary for 9th grade students. Students who don’t pass the CAHSEE will be able to retake the examination until the English-language arts and mathematics parts are passed, but they will only have to retake that part not passed. Currently, students will have at least 8 different opportunities to pass the exam before they complete high school.

Resources for STAR and CAHSEE

The California Department of Education has a number of publications and resources available to assist students, parents and teachers. Some of these publications are available in print form, and many are available on the Internet. Some of the Internet resources are:

Contact information:

William Tarr Jr.
CDE Standards and Assessment Division
721 Capitol Mall, 6th Floor
Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 653-8381 voice; (916) 657-4964 fax;
Susan J. Iida
CDE Mathematics Consultant
830 S St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 323-4867; (916) 323-2833 fax; email:
Yvonne Evans
CDE Mathematics Consultant
830 S St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 323-2833 fax; email:
Thomas J. Lester
CDE Mathematics Consultant
830 S St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 323-4819;



(1) “NCTM President to Speak at Summit Addressing Ways to Improve Math Education”

Web link:

NCTM President Lee Stiff will be a speaker at the “Summit on Math Education” to be held October 3, in Washington, D.C. The event will bring together educators, key policy makers, publishers, and curriculum specialists to discuss how to improve K-12 math education in the United States. The Summit will also address professional development, instructional strategies, and recent changes in state math curriculum and assessments.

Other speakers at the event sponsored by the Association of American Publishers include Secretary of Education Rod Paige; Bill Schmidt, Third International Mathematics and Science Study; Martha Schwartz, Mathematically Correct; Jean Joyner, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; George “Pinky” Nelson, Project 2061, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Richard Askey, Department of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin, and teachers from award-winning schools.

Math teachers, curriculum developers, professional development educators, and organizations involved in improving math instructions are invited to attend. The event will be held at the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. For information, phone Diane Bowman (202-220-4553) or email Updates are posted at


(2) Educating America-Chat with Rod Page

 Web link:

Education consistently ranks high on the list of what is most important to Americans. As millions of students head back to the classroom this fall, the Bush administration is focusing on the president’s plan to revamp the nation’s schools. Secretary of Education Rod Paige will talk live to U.S. News readers on Wednesday, September 19 at 3 p.m. ET. [For more information, go to the above Web site.]

(3) Opportunity to Provide Input [Written or Oral] on the Draft 2004 Mathematics Framework for NAEP

Source: National Assessment Governing Board – 17 August 2001
Web links: and

On behalf of the National Assessment Governing Board, you or a member of your organization are invited to testify at a National Public Forum on the Draft 2004 Mathematics Framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on Monday, September 24, 2001, in Washington, DC.

The forum will be held at the Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Avenue, NW from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Board is extending this invitation to education policy, mathematics, assessment, and business groups, as well as to the general public. The draft NAEP 2004 mathematics framework is now available for your review and comment.

The Board is seeking your views on any aspect of the draft upon which you may wish to offer recommendations or express concerns. [The Framework is available for downloading at .] There are some specific questions on which we are seeking input:

  1. Does the draft framework communicate clearly, to a broad audience, about the content and format of the NAEP mathematics assessment?
  2. Are the mathematics objectives in the draft framework appropriate expectations for students in grades 4, 8, and 12? (Chapter 3)
  3. Is the proportion of test questions in the five mathematics content areas appropriate at each grade level? (Chapter 2)
  4. Is the calculator policy appropriate for the NAEP mathematics assessment at grades 4, 8, and 12? (Chapter 2)

According to Public Law 103-382, the Governing Board is responsible for developing NAEP assessment objectives and test specifications through a national consensus process. Based on broad input gathered in 1999–including a national forum in July of that year–the Board voted to conduct a consensus process to update the NAEP mathematics framework for 2004, without breaking the trendlines begun in 1990. The draft framework is the result of this process involving mathematicians, mathematics educators, policymakers, and business representatives…

You are invited to present oral and/or written remarks, or you may send a written statement to the Board by September 24. Oral presentations should not exceed five minutes. Testimony will become part of the public record and will be considered by the Board when it takes final action on the mathematics framework at its meeting on November 15 – 17, 2001.

Testimony will be received at the September 24 forum in two sessions–9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. To register to present oral testimony, please call Tessa Regis at 202-357-7500 by Wednesday, September 19. You may send written testimony via mail, fax, or email to the Governing Board Office by September 24.

National Assessment Governing Board
800 North Capitol Street, NW Suite 825
Washington, DC 20002
Attn: Mary Crovo
[Fax: 202-357-6945     email:]

Please contact Roy Truby or Mary Crovo [202-357-6938] if you have questions about the forum. Other related material on the Governing Board and the National Assessment may be found at or



(1) NCSM Call for Nominations

Source: Mo Nelson ( – 12 September 2001
Web site:

The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics has extended its deadline for officer nominations to September 28. If you have a nomination that you want considered for the 2002 Election, submit the information (nominator, nominee’s name and phone numbers, position) to Mary Cavanagh at

Candidates for the following positions are sought: President Elect; Second Vice President; Director, Canadian Region; Director, Central Region 2 (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin); Director, Eastern Region 2 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia); and Director, West Region 2 (California, Far West/Guam, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington).

Duties for each of these positions are listed following at (No member shall hold more than one elective office at a time, and no member shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same elective office.)


(2) Director Sought for the Center for Education and Equity in Mathematics, Science, and Technology (CEEMaST)

Source: Jack Price, CEEMAST Interim Director
Web link:

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona is seeking applicants for the position of CEEMaST Director in the College of Science. The requirements are as follows: (1) Doctorate in Mathematics Education or Science Education or in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, or Physics with experience in mathematics or science education at the K-12 level and knowledge of reform movements and national/state standards in mathematics/science. (2) Evidence of teaching excellence and scholarly activities. Tenure and rank are open. The search will be kept open until the position is filled. First consideration will be given to completed applications received no later than October 1, 2001. Position starting date is 2 January 2002 or later by mutual agreement. Cal Poly Pomona is actively seeking to maintain its heritage and identity as a comprehensive center of education that serves a dynamic, culturally diverse region. Send a letter of application, resume, copies of transcripts, and names and contact information for three references to: Director, CEEMaST Search Committee, California State Polytechnic University, 3801 W. Temple Ave., Pomona CA 91768-4033. Call (909) 869-4063 for more information.