CUNY Webinar: Exploring the TASC Science Item Specifications

In June of 2016, DRC CTB released item specifications documents for each of the five tests on the TASC exam. The documents define the content and format of the test for item writers, but they also give teachers more specific information about what is being tested than we have had before. In a July 11th webinar hosted by the CUNY Adult Literacy/HSE Program, panelists discussed a standard in life science in order to explore how the item specifications work. Goals of the webinar included increasing understanding of the item specifications documents and, specifically, the content standard on cellular division and differentiation (p. 51), while exploring ideas on teaching these science topics.

Kate Brandt, Mark Trushkowsky and I were joined by Deedra Arvin, Test Development Program Manager at Data Recognition Corporation and Tim Jones, Associate for Instructional Services at The New York State Education Department, who talked through the content standards.

Resources include a recording of the webinar, the PowerPoint used in the presentation and a link to a Google Doc where teachers will be compiling their ideas for teaching cell division:

TASC Science Item Specs Webinar

Resources:

TASC Item Specifications http://www.acces.nysed.gov/hse/tasc-test-and-item-specifications

TASC Blueprints http://www.tasctest.com/resources.html

Next Generation Science Standards http://www.nextgenscience.org

A Framework for K-12 Science Education http://www.nap.edu/read/13165

Past Regents Examinations http://www.nysedregents.org

Learn.Genetics http://learn.genetics.utah.edu

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About Eric Appleton

Eric lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn with his wife Nancy and a poodle mix named Nina. He rides a bike to clear his head, but also enjoys long subway rides scribbling numbers in a notebook. Eric has worked in adult ed since '99. He is a founding member of the NYC Community of Adult Math Instructors (CAMI).

3 thoughts on “CUNY Webinar: Exploring the TASC Science Item Specifications

  1. This was a very informative webinar. I really felt as though it gave me the tools to examine the other standards in depth (even beyond science and the LS-1 standard). Going forward, it would be great if we could collaborate on some lesson ideas from the Google Doc. My favorite idea from the webinar was a “Mitosis Squaredance”.

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    1. There is so much I appreciated about this webinar as a participant. Briefly, I found the expertise of both Tim Jones and Deedra Arvin very enlightening and now feel more confident approaching the decoding of the TASC Item Specifications and presenting cell theory to my students. In fact, this week I used some of the pictures in the PowerPoint presentation with my students and it worked much the same way it was modeled for us in the webinar.

      For many reasons, presenting students with pictures is a great way to approach a new subject. I particularly like that students at all ability levels can participate in this kind of activity. Simply present a picture(s) and ask: What do you notice? What do you wonder? This serves to activate prior knowledge for the students and helps the teacher to get a sense of what students already know and what misconceptions they may have. I found a few other pictures that I added to the ones from the PowerPoint, along with a short video on cell differentiation.

      Links to additional pictures and video:

      http://nas-sites.org/stemcells/files/2013/01/What-Is-Download.jpg

      http://americanregen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/48021-hi-stem_cell_all.jpg

      http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/tdc02.sci.life.stru.different/cell-differentiation/

      For those of you who did not attend the webinar, note that the recording starts out with introductions and has a little bit of dead air time whilst participants are entering their responses to the pictures in the chat box. So, just download the chat conversation so you’ll have that to look at during the quiet time and most of all, stay turned to watch the whole video! There are so many valuable points brought out during the conversations; highly recommend that you take the time to watch it.

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