Friday, August 31, 2012

BREAKING: They're up! STAR 2012

Statewide 2012 California STAR Test Results

See the STAR post below for information on how to generate various reports.

Here's the CDE's press release on the 2012 STAR results. The section devoted to science says,

"In 2012, the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level and above across all grade-level tests increased by 3 percentage points. Grade five showed an increase of 1 percentage point, grade eight showed an increase of 2 percentage points, and grade ten showed the highest one-year increase of 3 percentage points. Notable gains were also seen in all grade levels since the assessments were first administered.

From 2011 to 2012, all grade-level and nearly every end-of-course results showed an increase in the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level and above on the science CSTs with the exception of Physics and Integrated Science 1. The largest one-year increase was 6 percentage points in Integrated Science 2, increasing from 19 percent to 25 percent of students, followed by 5 percentage points in Chemistry, increasing from 38 percent to 43 percent of students. Earth Science and Biology each showed a one-year increase of 3 percent of students. Physics and Integrated Science 1 remained unchanged from the previous year.

The percentage of students achieving at the proficient level and above has increased on all end-of-course tests since 2003, with the greatest increase on the CST for Physics, at 23 percentage points during that time period. Gains for all of the end-of-course tests made between 2011 and 2012 were 3 percentage points, while those same tests showed gains of approximately 17 percentage points between 2003 and 2012.

In 2012, approximately 1.2 million students in grades nine through eleven took science end-of-course CSTs. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of students taking the CST for Biology increased by 3,763, and the number of students taking the CST for Chemistry increased by 9,974. Since 2003, the number of students taking the CST for Biology has increased by 222,672, the greatest increase among the science end-of-course CSTs. Though the number of test-takers is decreasing over the past three years, for Earth Science, there is an increase of 117,248 students taking that test since 2003. Within the same period, notably, the number of students taking the CST for Chemistry increased by 121,882."

For the most meaningful information (schoolwide student performance on specific standards), you'll have to wait for your district.

Statewide Physics Results (click to embiggen):

Monday, August 27, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Delayed STAR test results posted today???


UPDATE: Actually, the normal August 15 statewide release of STAR results has been delayed until August 31. Student scores were reported to school districts on August 22.

UPDATE 2: My district promised access to data via Data Director on August 24:
CST Prebuilt Report Update

The DataDirector team is currently working on updating the CST Prebuilt Reports for use with your 2011-2012 CST data. The following Prebuilt Reports will be available for use with 2011-2012 by the close of business on August 24th:
-CST Scaled Scores
-CST Cluster Scores
-Student Profile Report

I have been unable to access the promised data. Data Director is not the most user-friendly system, but I've navigated it enough to access useful data in the past. At this point, I can get all the 2010-11 data I want, but 2011-12 remains elusive.


The state delayed the results of the Spring 2012 administration of STAR tests. These tests include the end-of-course California Standards Test (CST) in 9-12 Physics. (Don't get too excited by the "9-12 Physics" designation: only students in grades 9-11 take STAR tests.)

Because of incidents of item sharing (apparently, students photographed questions and shared them with classmates), the California Department of Education mounted an investigation. The investigation delayed the release of STAR test results. The results are usually published on or around August 15. The investigation pushed the release back to August 24 August 31. Here's the state's notice to schools on the matter.

There is a permanent link to CST results in the link column to the right. But here's a link, nonetheless.

STAR CST Results

From the main page, you'll want to click

2012 STAR Test Results

From there, click

"Search Test Results"

From there.

1. To see statewide results, select nothing from the alluring pop-up menus. Simply clicking "View Report."

What you get is the complete listing of STAR CST results statewide. Everything! Look at those huge-normous numbers. Scary!

2. To see county results, select a county, then "View Report."

3. To see district results, select a county, then select a school district within that county, then "View Report."

4. To see school results, select a county, then select a school district within that county, then select a school within that district, then "View Report."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hewitt-Drew-It! Nellie Hanging on Gym Ropes

In this screencast, Paul Hewitt shows two different ways of solving vector problems; resolution of vectors and the parallelogram method. He also shows a pulley problem.

Hewitt-Drew-It! Nellie Hanging on Gym Ropes

Saturday, August 18, 2012

All the color of the rainbow

And no, I don't mean "all the colors of the rainbow."

Some Saturday morning serendipity started with a Phil Plait tweet about a stunning image of clouds lit from beneath by a sinking sun and ended at an image of a red rainbow.

I had never seen a monochromatic rainbow, and the idea of it seems oxymoronic on its face. But it makes good enough sense if you understand the optics of the rainbow.

Normally a rainbow consists of dispersed full-spectrum sunlight. Sunlight includes all the colors of the...uhm...rainbow (***circumlocution alert***).

But what if the sunlight that makes it to the raindrops has already undergone significant Rayleigh scattering by passing through a great thickness of atmosphere typical of a sunset or sunrise? WIth the shorter wavelengths scattered, only the redder colors get through. And if red is the only color to hit the raindrops, red is the only color that will show up in the rainbow.

Still, I had never seen an image of a red rainbow until today. Once again, I need to get out more.

Earth Science Picture of the Day: Monsoon Sunset and Red Rainbow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AAPT Philadelphia High School Sharathon Pics

My collection of photographs from the High School Sharathon are now online at Flickr

2012 07 AAPT Philadelphia



Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Rio Phyz Work Day extra credit opportunity!

OK Rio Phyz students paying attention—especially you, AP Phyz students: the Work Day CTF opportunity is hereby announced.

On Wednesday, August 15, there will be two windows of CTF opportunity. One will be 10am-12n, the other will be 2pm-4pm.

Come into Rio and help me get the room (B-8) set up, and you'll be rewarded with highly-coveted Credit Toward Final (CTF) points. The rate is 12 points per hour. It's always great to go into the school year with some CTF in your pocket.

So set a reminder on your smartphone or tie a string around your finger. Hope to see you Wednesday!

Monday, August 06, 2012

AAPT Summer Meeting 2012 post-mortem

The American Association of Physics Teachers Summer Meeting 2012 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia was held from July 28 through August 1.

Here are links to what remains of the meeting.

Amateur video of the important addresses

GoogleDoc of session-related website resources

AAPT's SM12 Philadelphia Conference Page

The Twitter hashtag used for meeting-related tweets was #aaptsm12.

If someone knows of other AAPTSM12 residue, let me know in the comments.

Hewitt-Drew-it! Nellie's Rope Tensions

In this screencast, Paul Hewitt explains how vectors are used to figure out forces and equilibrium. Paul uses a parallelogram rule to find resultant tensions.

Hewitt-Drew-It! Nellie's Rope Tensions

Friday, August 03, 2012

Radiolab: Colors

This is a great hour of radio. An entertaining exploration of color done in audio (challenge handled nicely). It is, of course, not without its flaws (I'll save those for comments).

Radiolab: Colors