COMET • Vol. 7, No. 07 – 23 February 2006


(1) Applications are Now Available to Serve on a Mathematics Materials Adoption Panel

Source (Interview):  Mary Sprague, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources (CFIR) Division, California Department of Education (916-319-0172;

You are strongly encouraged to consider submitting an application to serve on a panel for the 2007 K-8 mathematics instructional materials adoption. Applications are now available online for service on two types of panels: an Instructional Materials Advisory Panel (IMAP) and a Content Review Panel (CRP).

IMAP applications are available online at

CRP applications are available online at

Download the appropriate application form and submit the completed application to the CFIR office by 6 September 2006.

Additional Information:

Approximately 30 mathematics programs are expected to be submitted for review. Since each panel typically receives two programs to review, it is anticipated that 15 panels will be needed, each consisting of 2 CRP and 7-8 IMAP members. IMAP and CRP members are recommended by the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission (Curriculum Commission) and appointed by the State Board of Education.

IMAP and CRP members will receive training together, will deliberate together in the same breakout room, and will submit one consensus report to the Curriculum Commission for each program reviewed. (This is a different procedure from that used in the last primary mathematics adoption, where the IMAP and CRP training, deliberations, and reports were separate.)

Role of CRP Members (from application):

CRP members (usually scholars with a doctorate in the subject area)… review submitted materials according to State Board-adopted evaluation criteria and ensure that materials are accurate, aligned to grade level content standards, and are based on current and confirmed research. A CRP member reviews only those materials or parts of them that pertain to his/her area of expertise and serves as a resource to the IMAP members… An advanced degree in mathematics or a related subject matter field (e.g., physics, engineering, statistics) is required [for service on a CRP].

Role of IMAP Members (from application):

IMAP members (primarily teachers with direct classroom experience in teaching mathematics)…review submitted materials according to State Board-adopted criteria and ensure that the content of materials is in alignment with the curriculum framework and content standards. IMAP members review materials for content, as well as program organization, assessment, universal access, and instructional planning and support. IMAP members, in collaboration with CRP subject matter experts, decide whether to recommend instructional materials for adoption.

Training for CRP and IMAP members will be held in Orange County on March 26-29, 2007, and deliberations will be held on July 16-19, 2007, also in Orange County.

Please share this information with qualified individuals, and feel free to contact Mary Sprague if you have any questions.

(2) California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) Grant Program RFA Released

Source:  Yvonne Evans, Mathematics & Science Leadership Unit, California Department of Education (916-323-5252;
URL (Press Release)

Yesterday State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell invited eligible organizations to compete for $13.2 million dollars in California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) program grants.

The funds must be used to establish partnerships among qualified organizations to help boost student achievement in math and science by providing ongoing training for teachers in these fields.

“These grants will help us meet a critical need for excellent math and science teachers in California’s classrooms,” said O’Connell. “By developing top quality teacher programs and encouraging more math and science majors to consider teaching careers, we can better prepare students for the real-world demands of the 21st century.”

The math and science grants will supplement O’Connell’s proposed Developing Highly Qualified Teachers and Administrators Initiative that he introduced earlier this month during his 2006 State of Education Address.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act, Title II, Part B is the funding source for the CaMSP grants.  Currently funded CaMSP programs are not eligible to apply for additional funding.  This third round of funding for eligible applicants, or cohort 3, is designed to provide long-term professional learning activities to the teachers in this cohort over multiple years.

Eligible organizations must form educational partnerships among: a “high-need” local educational agency; engineering, math, or science department of a university; nonprofit private schools; county offices of education, public charter schools, public or private elementary or secondary schools, or a consortium of them; business or industry organization; another engineering, math, science, or teacher education department of a university; nonprofit or for-profit organization with a proven track record of improving the quality of math and science teachers; or local parent organizations.

A “high-need” local educational agency is defined as serving a student population where at least 40 percent of the pupils qualify for the National School Lunch Program. CaMSP is an in-depth professional development program for classroom teachers to enhance their knowledge and teaching skills of math and science through professional learning activities. Ultimately, the program is designed to increase the academic achievement of financially disadvantaged students in math (grade five through algebra I) and science (grades four through eight).

Eligible partnerships must file their applications by March 30, 2006.  California Department of Education staff will select a panel to review the applicants and will score them based on their vision and goals, action plan, evaluation plan, partnership management plan, and institutional change and program sustainability.  Once the winning applicants are notified of their grant amount, their progress in administering the funds will be monitored, and they must fulfill reporting requirements in order to receive their full funding amount.  For an application, please visit


(1) National Science Board Panel to Discuss Newly Released Science and Engineering Indicators 2006 Today


Highlighting a “changed” world, the National Science Board (NSB) will release its biennial report to the President, Science and Engineering Indicators 2006, in a media briefing today at 9 a.m. ET on Capitol Hill.

At the 90-minute briefing,  NSB members will review their concerns, key findings and recommendations, which they presented in a report to the President, Congress and the public issued concurrently with Indicators. Entitled America’s Pressing Challenge – Building a Stronger Foundation, the separate report to the President and Congress makes several recommendations to address the continued lackluster performance of America’s students in K-12 science and mathematics education.  It calls for equal classroom time for science, mathematics and reading and a much stronger commitment to attracting and retaining teachers through better pay and professional development experiences.

Among other findings, the new Indicators reports that international R&D growth and competition in many East Asian nations has now been transformed from “potential” to “reality.” The situation makes more immediate the need for improvements in K-12 science and math education, Board members will say.

The NSB consists of 24 members and the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)–preeminent scientists, engineers and educators appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate–who serve as an independent advisory body to the President and Congress on matters of national science and engineering policy. The science board also serves as the policy making and oversight body for the NSF, the federal agency that supports nearly all fields of scientific and engineering research, and education.

Biographical sketches of participating NSB/NSF officials are available at the below Web sites:

— Steven C. Beering, Chair, NSB Education and Human Resources Subcommittee on Science and Engineering:

— Jo Anne Vasquez, NSB Education and Human Resources Committee:

— Kathie L. Olsen, Deputy Director, National Science Foundation:

(2) Request for Proposals: Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Program

Source: National Science Foundation
URL (Program Solicitation):

The Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program is a major research and development effort that supports innovative partnerships to improve K-12 student achievement in mathematics and science. MSP projects are expected to both raise the achievement levels of all students and significantly reduce achievement gaps in the mathematics and science performance of diverse student populations. Successful projects serve as models that can be widely replicated in educational practice to improve the mathematics and science achievement of all the Nation’s students.

In this solicitation, NSF seeks to support two types of MSP projects:

— Institute Partnerships: Teacher Institutes for the 21st Century, especially for the science disciplines in the secondary grades and for elementary science specialists; and

— A focused set of Research, Evaluation and Technical Assistance (RETA) projects that directly support the work of the Institutes or engage the national disciplinary and professional societies in MSP work.

Letter of Intent Due: April 14, 2006 (optional, but strongly encouraged)

Full Proposal Deadline: May 17, 2006 (due by 5 p.m. submitter’s local time)


Related Item:

“Math and Science Partnership Program:Strengthening America by Advancing Academic Achievement in Mathematics and Science”


This report provides an overview of the goals, structure, and composition of NSF’s Math and Science Partnership Program and provides a listing of MSP Partnerships by state, as well as a listing of Research, Evaluation, and Technical Assistance projects by state.

(3) Diagnostic Algebra Assessment

Source: Helena Miranda

Through funding from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative at Boston College (InTASC) is attempting to develop tests that will provide more diagnostic information about student learning than is available from traditional standardized tests.

The algebra misconception tests are designed to identify whether a given student’s achievement in algebra is being hindered by one or more common algebraic misconception. From January-June 2005, pilot tests were developed and data was collected for the “linguistic,” “concept of a variable,” and “deletion” misconceptions. For the second phase of the research, which began in December and will end in June, the goal is to validate two of these misconceptions (—linguistic” and “concept of a variable—) and to pilot three new misconceptions: equality, graphing, and addends.

InTASC is currently seeking teachers who are interested in helping pilot this new approach to testing.  Each of the five tests (one for each of the above misconceptions) will consist of 30 questions and should take approximately 40 minutes to complete. Teachers who wish to participate in this research may choose one or more of the five tests to administer to their students. Before taking the misconception tests, students will take a 20-item algebra ability test and a short student questionnaire. All of these pilot tests will provide students and teachers with immediate feedback on test performance as well as information about misconceptions that individual students may hold.

If you are interested in participating in or learning more about this study, please visit the Diagnostic Algebra Assessment (DAA) Web site at

(4) Deduct Your Education Expenses for 2005

Source: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 in qualified expenses on your 2005 federal income tax. Qualified expenses are unreimbursed expenses you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. You are an eligible educator if, for the tax year, you met the following requirements:

* You are a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide.
* You worked at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law.

For more information on the Educator Expense Deduction, visit the IRS website:,,id=146231,00.html