COMET • Vol. 4, No. 01 – 16 January 2003


(1) “Science And Math Educator To Lead Lawrence Hall Of Science” by Linda Schneider

Source:  Lawrence Hall of Science Press Release – 15 January 2003


Elizabeth K. Stage, an educator and leader with a national and international reputation in teacher development, student assessment and educational equity, has been named the new director of Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), the University of California, Berkeley’s public science center.

Stage currently directs the Mathematics Professional Development Institutes at the University of California Office of the President. As LHS director, she will return to an institution where she served throughout much of the 1980s in mathematics and computer education.

“I’ve spent 30 years of my professional life working on one goal-to increase opportunities for all students to learn worthwhile mathematics and science,” said Stage, who holds a doctorate in education from Harvard University. “Lawrence Hall of Science played an important role in providing me with the background and skills that I have developed to promote educational equity”…

Stage’s national service includes director of critique and consensus at the National Research Council’s National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment. She is president-elect of the National Center for Science Education, an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a former member and chair of the California Curriculum Commission. She serves as an expert in student assessment with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international organization helping governments tackle the economic, social and governance challenges of a global economy…

While taking the reins during a state budget crisis and a weak overall economy will be a challenge, Stage points to the strong foundation in place at Lawrence Hall of Science because of the current director, Dr. Ian Carmichael, and LHS staff. During fiscal year 2001-2002, LHS raised more than $10 million in grants to fund the organization’s role in professional development, curriculum development and public science education. Projects underway for the museum component of LHS include cutting-edge exhibits on Bay Area earth science, nanotechnology and modern astrophysics.

Stage will begin her tenure at the science center in February…

(2) SBE Meeting Highlights: A Summary of Key Actions by the California State Board of Education – December 2002

Source:  State Board of Education (SBE) – (916) 319-0827


* NCLB: Options for Adequate Yearly Progress Assessed

California’s well-defined summary measure of academic achievement and school progress, the Academic Performance Index or API, in its current form would likely not pass muster as the statewide school accountability system under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), a key official in the California Department of Education (CDE) told the State Board of Education at its December meeting.

A major provision in NCLB is the requirement that all schools must demonstrate “Adequate Yearly Progress” or AYP, and that all students must perform at or above the “proficient” level in both mathematics and language arts by 2014. Over the past several months, the CDE officials have presented potential options for integrating the AYP requirements within the framework of the API.

Dr. Bill Padia, Director of the CDE’s Policy Evaluation Division, noted that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) recently released guidance on what would be acceptable with regard to AYP and what would not, and the details were not encouraging for California. Padia told the State Board that while the API system, with some modifications, would meet the spirit of the federal law, it would not meet the letter of the law.

Padia noted that one key reason why the current API might not be an acceptable measure of AYP is that under the API, not all students have to be at proficient or above for a school to meet its target. Also, establishing different starting points for schools and subgroups are a possible problem. “It would be questionable whether or not (California’s NCLB accountability system) could be the API,” he said…

Padia said…that all students must score at the proficient level or higher in reading and math by 2014. Furthermore, under NCLB, the scores for reading and math must be broken out, and USDE has maintained that this is “non-negotiable”…

* Key Tool to Help Teachers Use STAR Data Approved

The State Board has taken a key step to help California teachers make better use of testing data to assess student performance and make instructional changes to improve students’ mastery of the state’s rigorous academic content standards.

The State Board unanimously approved the proposed 2003 “California Report for Teachers,” a two-page, easy-to-digest color graphic report whose purpose is to help teachers use test data as a tool to better meet students’ instructional needs. The reports were developed with input from teachers, test coordinators and principals in Fresno, Riverside and Sacramento. They will provide individual teachers with a detailed look at their students’ performance on the California Standards Tests (CST)…

* State Board Clarifies Issue of Untimed Tests

The State Board in December rescinded action that had authorized the 2003 California Standards Tests and the California Achievement Test (CAT 6) nationally normed test to be administered to all students without an arbitrary time limit.

When the State Board first acted on the issue in November, the motion was made with the understanding that the publisher of the CAT 6 did not believe administration of the nationally normed test, absent time constraints, would adversely impact the validity of the results in relationship to the test’s national norms. Subsequently, SBE President Reed Hastings announced that additional information had been received from the publisher clarifying the publisher’s position. The test publisher, CTB/McGraw-Hill, does not recommend a blanket policy of extended time for all students.

At the State Board’s meeting in December, the CDE assessment division expressed its regret that the State Board’s action last month was based on inaccurate information. As a result, the State Board approved a motion to rescind the action whereby it authorized the 2003 administration of the CAT 6 to students without an arbitrary time limit in 2003. The CST remains an un-timed test.

* Testing Policies for English Learners

The State Board directed CDE staff to begin the development of regulations regarding testing accommodations for English learners…

At issue are the allowable accommodations that are to be provided to English learners so they can access state tests. The two areas of focus for accommodations not universally available are the use of glossaries and extended time to take tests.

After reviewing research on the impact of glossary use, the CDE has recommended that glossaries should be made available to English learners for state tests in mathematics, science, and history-social science (all STAR and Golden State Exams) but prohibit their use on the English-language arts portion of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). Schools and districts would determine the appropriate use of glossaries on an individual student basis…

Spears noted that the timeline for 2003 STAR testing is such that necessary regulations, procedures, and documentation cannot be developed in time and therefore the CDE recommends that policy decisions on testing accommodations for English learners be implemented for STAR 2004.

* AB 1781 Emergency Regulations Adopted

The State Board adopted emergency regulations to implement the new K-12 Instructional Materials Funding Realignment Program (IMFRP), which goes into effect January 1, 2003. Under Assembly Bill 1781, about $400 million will be appropriated during the 2002-2003 fiscal year to provide each student with textbooks or instructional materials that are aligned to the state’s academic content standards in English-language arts, mathematics, history-social science, and science…

CURRICULUM COMMISSION: The State Board approved three appointments to the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission for four-year terms commencing January 1, 2003. Appointed were Nancy Aaberg, assistant superintendent for instructional services in the Yuba City Unified School District; Deborah Keys, executive director of Middle Schools in the Oakland Unified School District; and Stan Metzenberg, assistant professor of biology at California State University Northridge. Aaberg has a broad range of experience in K-12 instruction and curriculum and has particular expertise in the area of mathematics…

(3) Draft Minutes from 11 December 2003 SBE Meeting Re Mathematics Framework

Source:  State Board of Education (SBE) – (916) 319-0827


…Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission Chair Sue Stickel presented the Commission’s report to the Board…  Ms. Stickel…stated that the Commission has discussed the Mathematics Framework, believes it is well written, and recommends that the framework only be changed in cases where necessary due to statutory changes or changes in the state’s assessment system.

ACTION: By consensus, the State Board members present agreed with the recommendation of the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission that the 1998 Mathematics Framework be updated (e.g., to incorporate changes in statute and the state assessment system) as opposed to being completely revised in 2004…


Related note:  On January 8, “newly inaugurated State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell…announced the appointment of several of his administration’s top staff at the State Board of Education meeting…Sue Stickel will be in charge of Curriculum and Instruction” (see

(4) “Science and a School’s API Ratings”

Source: Art Sussman ( – 16 January 2003

On Wednesday, January 8, 2003, the State Board of Education (SBE)…adopted revisions to the 2002 Base Academic Performance Index (API) for elementary, middle and high schools. For the 2002-2003 API Cycle, there is no weight for science in grades 2 through 8. The California Standards Test for science covering standards for grades 4 and 5 will be piloted in the Spring of 2003 and implemented in 2004. There is no indication whether it will count towards a school’s API rating, and if so, how much it will count.

The revisions adopted at the January 8th meeting significantly reduce the amount that science counts for a high school’s 2002 Base API. The score on science items of the norm reference testing (not the standards based course testing) will count only 3% towards the school’s total score (it had been scheduled to be 20%). The high school standards-based science tests (such as Biology, Integrated 1, etc.) do not count at all towards the 2002 API. In comparison, in Social Science, the California Standards Test (based on courses and standards, not on a nationally normed test) will count 20% towards a school’s 2002 API…

The CDE website has some very useful information about the Academic Performance Index. The link to API information is:

There are two charts on that API home page that are very informative in showing the contributions to the school API from different tests across language arts, math, social science, and science. These can be accessed as two links at the top of the left-hand column labeled “Updated API Indicator Weights (Approved by SBE 01/08/03): Elementary and Middle School; High School.”


(1) “Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act: Presentations”

Source:  Kirk Winters ( – 12 December 2002


[The] Office of Elementary & Secondary Education hosted four regional meetings in October to help ensure effective implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act… Below are [some of the] titles of the handouts and slide shows, organized by topic…

* Accountability & Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

— On the Horizon: State Accountability Systems:

— Accountability & AYP:

— Strategies for Making Annual Yearly Progress: Using Curriculum-Based Measurement for Progress Monitoring:

— …Annotated Bibliography:

* ESEA Funding (Elementary & Secondary Education Act)

— ESEA Funding Opportunities by Eligible Applicant:

* Evidence-Based Education


* Improving Teacher Quality

—  Highly Qualified Teachers:

— Strategies for Improving Teacher Quality:

— Improving Teacher Quality State Grants: Non-Regulatory Draft Guidance:

* Math & Science Partnerships

— Mathematics & Science Partnerships: Scientifically Based Research in Mathematics:

* Paraprofessionals

— Highly Qualified Paraprofessionals:

* Schoolwide Programs

— Making the Most of Title I Schoolwide Programs:

* Standards & Assessments

— Standards & Assessments: Regulations:

— Title I as a Model for Reform:

— Standards & Assessment Issues:

* What Works Clearinghouse

— What Works Clearinghouse Handout:

— What Works Clearinghouse Presentation:


Related information: 

Beverly Braxton, Elementary Mathematics Specialist for the UC Office of the President (TEPD), reports that “information on the No Child Left Behind Act is now available on the MPDI website. The material includes two PowerPoint presentations as well as direct Web links to the U. S. Department of Education. Materials were gathered from various sources.” See

(2) “President Signs National Science Foundation Bill Designed to Boost Education and Research Spending” (Press release)

Source:  Committee on Science; Sherwood Boehlert (Chairman) – 19 December 2002


At a White House ceremony [on December 19], President George W. Bush signed into law far-reaching legislation to put the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a track to double its budget over five years and to create new mathematics and science education initiatives at both the pre-college and undergraduate level.

“This is landmark legislation,” said Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), who championed the bill in the House. “From our nation’s students, to our economy, and to our security, the fruits of this effort will be enjoyed for many years to come”…

The final version of H.R. 4664 includes language from five House-passed Science Committee bills — H.R. 4664 (the NSF authorization); H.R. 1858 (on K-12 math and science education); H.R. 100 (on master teachers); H.R. 3130 (“The Tech Talent Act,” on undergraduate education); and H.R. 2051 (on biotechnology research) — and from the Senate NSF authorization (S. 2817).

Major elements of H.R. 4664 include:

*  Authorizes increases of about 15 percent in the NSF budget in each of the next five years, while imposing strict, new management requirements to ensure that NSF continues to use taxpayer money wisely. The last two increases are contingent on NSF demonstrating management excellence;

*  Authorizes the President’s Math and Science Education Partnership Program. The bill language comes predominantly from H.R. 1858, Chairman Boehlert’s bill to improve science and math education in elementary and secondary schools;

*  Authorizes the training of master teachers from H.R. 100, Rep. Vernon Ehlers’ (R-MI) education bill, as part of the Partnership program;…

*  Authorizes the Tech Talent program from H.R. 3130, to address the decline in the technical workforce and to improve undergraduate math and science education. Chairman Boehlert and Rep. John Larson (D-CT) sponsored the original House bill and funding for this program;

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD), Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee said, “As a scientist who worked on aspects of America’s successful Gemini and Apollo programs, I have observed a twenty year decline in science and math education with growing alarm. America’s future prosperity will be at risk and our ability to win the war against terrorism will be compromised if we fail to reclaim our world leadership in educating and inspiring our young people to become scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”