[CESElist] Earth System Science Certification Program

Comer, Chris Chris.Comer at tea.state.tx.us
Mon Jul 30 12:53:49 MDT 2007

Hi All,

All of Texas' high school courses have a 40% lab requirement making all
high school science courses lab based.  During State Board of Education
discussion on the merits of an earth based science course in high
school, one particular group argued that earth science was not lab based
and urged that an ESS course should not take the place of Biology,
Chemistry and Physics.  ESS in Texas will be offered as a fourth-year
science "capstone" course that will have a pre-requisite of B,C,P.  The
SBOE asked where the term "capstone course" had been coined.  We
referred them to AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy.  All along, Earth
Science Taskforce groups in Texas referred to ESS as essential to
science literacy and used NRC's National Science Standards and the AAAS
Science for All Americans as landmark documents for such thinking.


Prior to ESS, we have had elective earth based science courses such as
Astronomy, Aquatic Science, Environmental Systems, and Geology,
Meteorology & Oceanography (GMO) that have all been lab based courses
(Kathy Ellins and her group did a fabulous job of providing pd on this
for Texas teachers).  We proved that GMO required skills and knowledge
of lab procedures in order to meet the standards for the course.  The
new ESS course will take the place of GMO and will incorporate space-age
technology and rigorous mathematics in lab situations.


A national group of Earth Science leaders was convened in Austin to
provide guidelines for courses in ESS and the report is to be published
soon.  This guidelines document will further delineate the rigor of an
ESS course and the ties to lab situations that will prepare students for
future leadership in ESS.


I hope this helps,





Chris Castillo Comer

Director of Science

Texas Education Agency

1701 N. Congress Ave.

Austin, TX 78701-1494


chris.comer at tea.state.tx.us



Ph:  512-463-9581

Fx:  512-463-8057




Please join our listserv @ www.tea.state.tx.us/list and click on


From: ceselist-bounces at mailman.ucar.edu
[mailto:ceselist-bounces at mailman.ucar.edu] On Behalf Of Kathy Ellins
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2007 1:30 PM
To: Kovach, Russell; Steve M. Carlson; pyleej at jmu.edu
Cc: ceselist at mailman.ucar.edu
Subject: RE: [CESElist] Earth System Science Certification Program


I wonder if Chris Comer of the Texas Education Agency can help by
providing information on the Texas example. Texas now requires four
years of science to graduate and is developing an Earth and Space
Science capstone course, which will be an option to fulfill one of the
four sciences.


At 02:08 PM 7/30/2007 -0400, Kovach, Russell wrote:

This is an interesting concept... it rather reminds me of the AP Audit.
If the CESE group could begin a similar process for Earth System Science
/ Earth Science (possibly at the district level rather than the
individual teacher level as AP does it), we could generate considerable
exposure over the next few years.  Is anybody aware of any general
education group other than AP that does similar certification?  If so,
how do they go about such certification, and how do school districts
that meet the certification rules advertise such?
Russell W. Kovach
Science Teacher
C. Milton Wright High School
1301 N. Fountain Green Road
Bel Air, MD 21015
(410) 638 - 4110 phone
(410) 638 - 4114 fax


From: Steve M. Carlson
Sent: Mon 7/30/2007 1:49 PM
To: pyleej at jmu.edu
Cc: ceselist at mailman.ucar.edu
Subject: Re: [CESElist] chance for input: Colorado high school
graduation requirements

Maybe "we" need to start certifying programs that
are Earth Science  
lab classes!  We could put together, if not already
inquiry based criteria where a school could send in information and  
data certifying a lab based model.  Much like the National
Certification model?  I am not aware of such a program, maybe it
already being done?  I retired some time ago!
On Jul 30, 2007, at 10:08 AM, Eric J. Pyle wrote:
> Just a suggestion, but one we are wrestling with here in Virginia
> do Colorado state college and university admissions offices
> what counts as a science lab credit?  Virginia schools
> "suggestions" that omit Earth science.  While this
does not  
> preclude Earth science as counting for admission, some
> may require the other three sciences prior to admission.  What
> you suppose is the case in Colorado?
> Regards,
> Eric Pyle
> ---- Original message ----
>> Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 10:01:17 -0600
>> From: "Amy Stevermer" <asteverm at ucar.edu>
>> Subject: [CESElist] chance for input: Colorado high school  
>> graduation requirements
>> To: ceselist at mailman.ucar.edu
>> To Colorado CESE folks,
>> Colorado House Bill 07-1118 is moving forward. The bill requires
>> Colorado State Board of Education to develop state-wide high
>> graduation requirements. As currently written, the goal is not
>> require specific courses, however, there is movement to define
>> number of credits in a subject area (for instance, 3 years
>> science)
>> that must be completed by all Colorado high school students.
>> The State Board is also currently collecting feedback on the
>> model content standards.
>> Attached are links to the standards and to HB 07-1118, as well
as a
>> survey form from Edie Hudak on the State Board of Ed.
>> there is
>> compelling info regarding the importance of Earth system
>> education at the high school level that can be brought to the
>> attention.
>> Colorado Model Content Standards: Science
>> Colorado House Bill 07-1118
>>> SUMMARY OF HB 07-1118
>>> On or before July 1, 2008, the State Board of Education must
>>> a comprehensive set of guidelines for the establishment of
>>> school graduation requirements  that each school
district must
>>> meet or exceed. These are to be minimum standards or basic
>>> competencies or skills, not specific courses or proficiency
>>> On or before August 1, 2007, the State Board must begin to
>>> public comment on the adequacy of the existing state model
>>> standards.
>>> Among the factors that the State Board must take into
account when
>>> creating the guidelines are:
>>> Recommendations from Governor Owens  Education
Alignment Council.
>>> Recommendations from Governor Ritter s P-20 Council.
>>> Admissions standards established by the Colorado Commission
>>> Higher Education for students entering 4-year education
>>> institutions in Colorado.
>>> The state s model content standards, particularly in math,
>>> science, reading, and writing.
>>> Skills and competencies necessary to succeed in the 21st
>> ________________
>> COgradpolicyinput.doc (32k bytes)
>> ________________
>> _______________________________________________
>> CESElist mailing list
>> CESElist at mailman.ucar.edu
> Eric J. Pyle, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor
> Department of Geology and Environmental Science
> James Madison University
> MSC 6903
> Harrisonburg, VA  22807
> 540.568.7115
> 7100A Memorial Hall
> _______________________________________________
> CESElist mailing list
> CESElist at mailman.ucar.edu
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