CSTA Classroom Science

The Condensed Framework

By Alan Colburn

The California Science Framework was commissioned by the State Board of Education. Its purpose is to help us translate the vision of the state's science standards into classroom practice--including guidance to teachers at all grade levels about what to teach, how to teach it, and when to do it.

The California NGSS are ambitious, and their implementation is complex. Communicating complex things requires lots of words. The California Science Framework is more than 1,800 pages long. You'd have to read somewhere between 150 and 200 articles in NSTA journals like The Science Teacher or Science and Children to match that. 

This means people aren't going to read the whole thing and parts will probably be read by just a handful of people. Wise counsel may go unnoticed. As a writer, I want my work to be read (I wrote a couple sections of the document). More importantly, as an educator, I want NGSS to succeed. The CA Science Framework can play a role--but only if it's read.

So I decided to do something about it.

I created detailed synopses of Framework chapters--sort of like Cliff's Notes for the Framework. I skipped chapters focusing on individual grade levels or spans, concentrating on the parts of the document applicable to everyone--chapter 1 (the Overview) and chapters 9-12 (Assessment, Access & Equity, Instructional Strategies, and Professional Development).

I am a tenured Professor of Science Education at CSU Long Beach, where I have been a faculty member since 1995. I have degrees in Science Education and Biology, and I taught high school Chemistry. I work with prospective elementary teachers and practicing teachers at all levels. I've written articles, given many CSTA presentations, wrote a monthly column for The Science Teacher, and written a couple books...but you might know me as former CSTA president Laura Henriques' husband. Hopefully, some combination of these experiences is enough for you to find the summaries trustworthy.

I was tempted to subtitle the work "I read the Framework so you don't have to," but I eventually recognized that perhaps a condensed version will have the opposite effect. Maybe I can help you find sections of the document you decide you need to read. Take a look! It's at http://www.caframework.science.

Alan Colburn is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and is a member of CSTA 



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