Alignment of Grade Level Expectations and STC K-6 Science Kits
When was the Alignment Completed?
Formal alignment of the STC instructional materials with the Washington State Science Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) began in 1998. At that time only limited work on alignment had been done in the state, primarily by individual school districts or regions with large National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. Over time, alignment documents have undergone several revisions for different purposes: release of modified EALR documents; publication of the STC Children's Books; development of classroom based assessments (ongoing); development of the Powerful Classroom Assessments (PCAs) by OSPI; and the publication of Grade Level Expectations (released in January of 2005). Funds from individual school districts and Battelle/Pacific Northwest National Labs, Eisenhower (Title II) funds, and Carolina Biological Supply Company covered personnel costs for much of the alignment work.
Who Conducted the Alignment?
The instructional materials review required the expertise of Science Specialists and teacher leaders from Southcentral and Southeast Washington LASER Alliances who knew the instructional materials (STC kits) quite well, had taught the units numerous times in their own classrooms, had received training as a teacher of teachers through the development process of the Professional Development Manuals for STC and had a deep understanding of the state standards (EALR's). Collectively, the team conducting the instructional materials review had the following expertise: extensive knowledge of kits with students and teachers; content area knowledge of biology, earth science, and general science; knowledge and experience of how to develop inquiry skills with students in elementary school; appropriate use of classroom based assessments; participation on Science Curriculum Instructional Framework (SCIF) and Science Assessment Leadership (SALT) teams. Additional feedback was incorporated from teachers around the state.
What was the Process Used to Align Kits to the EALR's/GLE's?
One consultant from Southeast Washington LASER Alliance was assigned to oversee the project's end product with two Science Specialists facilitating the process from the Southcentral Washington LASER Alliance. In the Summer of 2005, teams of teachers from both alliances were identified to work specifically on a grade level set of three units. Each team did initial work on the kits assigned to them by identifying, to the best of their knowledge, the places within the investigations where the EALRs were directly met. The goal was to be able to produce a document that showed the alignment of the units being used in the state and that identified possible opportunities for alignment with the use of intentional teaching. The team met several times over a period of a few months. At each meeting, the team working on the same kit would discuss and come to agreement on the EALRs identified. If an agreement was not able to be reached, the consultant was brought in to discuss the issues and assist the team in making a decision. Often this meant revisiting the investigations in the teacher's guide and wrestling with the ideas until consensus was reached. The work was compared to any available work from around the state. EALRs that were not met directly by the investigations, but could be targeted with intentional teaching of the skill/concept, were also identified. A draft of a Deep Alignment document to explain the "intentional teaching" that is necessary is being prepared for each of the STC units but has not been completed at this time.
The final drafts were made available to teachers by submitting them to regional leaders, district level administrators, and teacher trainers by email. All teacher trainings from now on will include the use of the STC Alignment At A Glance document in workshops. Additional targeted workshops in the LASER Alliance will be conducted to familiarize teachers with the Science EALRs and how they are met in the STC kits. Based on feedback from teachers as they use the alignment documents, changes will continue to be made.
What Documents are Available?
Currently there are two kinds of alignment documents available: Grade Level Expectation Documents, and At-a-Glance charts. These documents have been developed to help teachers and district personnel make instructional decisions about the most important concepts and principles to focus on in specific kits, as well as across the grades. In many cases, additional GLE's can be found in kits listed on the charts, but they are not identified because they have been targeted in other units, or because they were part of a GLE at a grade level higher or lower than the kit was designed for. This documents will be updated periodically as new assessment materials become available. Separate documents are available for WASL vocabulary and reading lists, these will be incorporated into LASER documents as time and funding allow.
At-a-Glance charts: This document is designed for use by grade level teams, or for planning at the building or district level. It is organized with GLEs down one side of the table, and kits across the top. The chart can be customized to include the kits actually used by a district. Gaps and overlaps in the instructional sequence can then be identified. The following coding system is useful in interpreting the chart quickly and easily. To download the chart click here.
Grade Level Expectation Documents: These documents are not yet available.
What Does the Coding Mean?
In 2005, Washington State LASER standardized the look of GLE documents. Existing documents were modified to reflect these changes. Codes indicate the following:
Targeted GLE's have been carefully selected to help teachers make instructional decisions about what was most important to focus on in specific kits. This document will be updated periodically as new assessment materials become available.
Special thanks to the Southeast Washington LASER Alliance Alignment Team:
Teachers from Southeast and Southcentral Washington LASER Alliances:
Georgia Boatman, Jewel Brumley, Georgianne Delgadillo, David Diaz, Alexis Emerson, Jan Fanciullo, Dani Flanagan, Julie Fry, Angela Galbreath, Mike Helseth, Miriam Hubbard, Sandy Jennings, Mechelle LaLanne, Vicki Mitchell, Mary Moore, Arleen Smith, Dawn Sparks, Denise Traplsi, Sid Turner, Julie Vavricka, Erika Vestad, Jim Williams.
Science Specialist, Educational Service District 105
Science Specialist, Yakima School District
Elementary Science Education Consultant
Peggy Harris Willcuts