Iowa Core Curriculum
By: Naomi Gragg
The Six Outcomes of the Iowa Core Curriculum
- Continuous School Improvement
- Professional Development
- Instruction & Assessment
These six outcomes will guide development of the district's improvement goals.
Iowa Core Curriculum: Alignment
What do educators need to know about alignment?
- Intended Curriculum: the content target for the enacted curriculum, often captured in content standards or other similar documents
- Enacted Curriculum: the content actually delivered during instruction in the classroom and other learning settings
- Assessed Curriculum: the content that is assessed to determine achievement
- Horizontal Alignment: degree of match across two components (e.g., instructional content with the Iowa Core Curriculum) within a single level (e.g., same grade comparisons)
- Vertical Alignment: degree of match within one component (e.g., district benchmark assessments) across multiple levels (e.g., across grade levels)
- Topical/Conceptual Knowledge: Topics and information that students are supposed to learn.
- Cognitive Complexity/Demand: What students are expected to do with the topical/conceptual knowledge (e.g., Bloom's Taxonomy)
- Emphasis: The extent to which topical/conceptual knowledge with accompanying complexity/demand are addressed by the intended, enacted, or assessed curriculum.
Level of Analysis
- Coarse-Grained: Tends to be global or general in nature; "it's in there somewhere."
- Fine-Grained: Specific, targeted, one-to-one correspondence (Niebling et al., 2008).
Iowa Core Curriculum: Implementation
What is full implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum??
What else should you know about the Iowa Core Curriculum?
District and accredited nonpublic schools must:
1. Respond to all outcomes and targets of the implementation plan
- Due July 1, 2010, for grades 9-12
- Due July 1, 2012, for grades K-8
2. Complete an initial alignment of local content with Iowa Core Curriculum Essential Concepts and Skill Sets in Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and 21st Century Skills (Civic Literacy, Health Literacy, Financial Literacy, Technology Literacy, and Employability Skills) and steps to address any gaps
- Due July 1, 2012, for grades 9-12
- Due 2013-2014, for grades K-8
3. Complete initial analysis of alignment of content, instruction, assessment, and steps to address any gaps
- Due July 1, 2012, for 9-12
- Due July 1, 2014, for K-8
Technical Assistance to Support Districts and Schools
Grant Wood's AEA Network work team will provide an Iowa Core Leadership Series for the 21st Century. Leadership Teams will receive the latest information and documents regarding ICC implementation In these sessions, teams will engage in activities designed to deepen their understanding of the work ahead. The purpose of these sessions will be to allow teams or individuals to receive personal assistance form AEA 10 team members, as well as time to network with those form other schools doing the same work.
Iowa Core Curriculum: Characteristics of Effective Instruction
"If content is challenging and relevant, and teachers routinely deliver instruction that demonstrates the characteristics of effective instruction, then student learning and performance will increase."
So...what are these Characteristics of Effective Instruction? To remember them, use the acronym START.
Teaching for Understanding:
Assessment FOR Learning (Formative Assessment):
Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum:
Teaching for Learner Differences:
Iowa Core Curriculum: 21st Century Skills
"We believe schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects, to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects." 21st century skillls bridge the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of students form the core academic areas to real life applications. (The Framework for 21st Century Learning, 2007)
Robert Sternberg described the necessity for 21st century skills when he stated, "...when we teach only for facts, rather than for now to go beyond facts, we teach students how to get out of date..." (2008)
Within this 21st century skill framework we must identify common strands, or learning skills that will allow students to thrive in the world of work and to be productive citizens. Tony Wagner, Harvard Graduate School of Education, labels these "survival skills" as (1) critical thinking and problem solving (2) collaboration and leadership (3) agility and adaptability (4) initiative and entrepreneurialism (5) effective oral and written communication (6) accessing and analyzing information and (7) curiosity and imagination. Wagner proposes that schools use academic content to teach these skills at every grade level, and be held accountable for a new standard of rigor. (2008)
What it is:
- Building learning opportunities on an students' natural curiosity
- Building learning opportunities on students' current knowledge
- Drawing on a deep understanding of how students learn and students' developmental characteristics to design learning experiences
- Providing students the opportunity to actively engage in learning skills, knowledge, and concepts
- Creating a climate of collaborative learning between the teacher and the learner
- Including students in decision-making processes of the classroom
- Teacher facilitating a variety of learning opportunities - experiential, holistic, authentic, and challenging
- Students collaborating and sharing resources
- Curriculum focusing on essential concepts and skill sets
- Providing opportunities for student to reflect on what and how they learn.
What it is NOT:
- Factory-model education with one-size fits all instructional approaches
- Didactic teaching
- Sitting, listening, and note-taking
- Student-controlled classrooms
- Ignoring the standards and benchmarks
Teaching for Learner Differences
Teaching for Learner Difference:
What it is:
- Teaching for Learner Differences through IDM is about meeting the needs of all students while maintaining high expectations for all students. It aligns with and supports all services and programs within a school.
- Teaching for Learner Differences is focused on appropriate instruction and focused on each and every student.
- It is data driven, a collaborative effort, proactive, a seamless continuum of instructional delivery, fluid, interactive, and responsive.
What it is NOT:
- Teaching for Learner Differences is not about lowering expectations or changing the Iowa Core Curriculum essential concepts and skills.
- It is not a sorting and tracking system that keeps students performing at low levels.
- It is not about assessing students and disregarding the data.
- It is not reactive, nor done in isolation.
Iowa Core Curriculum: Essential Concepts and Skill Sets
"If professional development is based on the Iowa Professional Development Model, and is focused on improved content, instruction and assessment practices, and if educators fully implement what they learn, then student learning and performance will increase."