Iowa Core Curriculum

By: Abbie

What does the Iowa Core Curriculum look like?

  • Identifies essential skills and concepts
  • Professional development and leadership is required to guide and enhance curriculum content classroom instruction and assessment
  • School districts will analyze both content and instruction of their curriculum to find the gaps and restructure to fully embrace the Core Curriculum
  • Student based approach, holds high expectations for all students
  • Students will attain deep conceptual knowledge through problem-solving and inquiry, and prepare students for the 21st century
  • Includes communities and schools together
  • Improves teaching and learning

How will it benefit Iowa?

  • Identifies Iowa as a state that alues high expectations for all students and educators
  • Extends the Iowa COre Content Standards and Benchmarks to identify priorities to improve educational systems in Iowa schools
  • Maximizes the effectiveness of the existing state wide assessment system
  • Improves teset scores
  • Increase the number of graduates who are can pursue a post-secondary opportunities
  • Provides Iowa with citizens better prepared to address the 21st century life

What does the Iowa Core Curriculum offer Iowa Students

  • Ensures that all Iowa students have access to challenging and meaningful curriculum

What does the Iowa Core Curriculum offer Iowa educators?

  • Iowa school districts and educators will engage in a continuous improvement process to assure that essential subject matter is being taught and essential knowledge and skills are being learned

What is a parent or community member's role?

  • Encourages educators, parents, and community members to collaboratively support the common goal of increasing student achievement

Iowa Core Curriculum: Alignment


  1. Intended Curriculum: the content target for the enacted curriculum, often captured in content standards or other similar documents
  2. Enacted Curriculum: the content actually delivered during instruction in the classroom and other learning settings
  3. Assessed Curriculum: the content that is assessed to determine achievement


The extent to which and how well all policy elements (content, instruction, and assessment) work together to guide instruction and student learning


  1. Horizontal Alignment: degree of match across two components (instructional content with the Iowa Core Curriculum) within a single level (same grade comparisons)
  2. Vertical Alignments: degree of match within one component (district benchmark assessments) across multiple levels (across grade levels)


  1. Topical/Conceptual Knowledge: Topics and information that students are supposed to learn
  2. Cognitive Complexity/Demand: What students are expected to do with the topical/conceptual knowledge
  3. Emphasis: The extent to which topical/conceptual knowledge with accompanying complexity/demand are addressed by the intended, enacted, or assessed curriculum

Level of Analysis

  1. Coarse-Grained: Tends to be global or general in nature; "it's in there somewhere"
  2. Fine-Grained: Specific, targeted, one-to-one correspondence

Iowa Core Curriculum: Implementation

What is full implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum?

  • Each school district and accredited non-public school in Iowa is required to develop a written plan to describe their implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum
  • This document provides a process to facilitate planning and a protocol for meeting in the requirements to develop an implementation plan

Legislated Deadlines

  • 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
  • Complete an initial alignment of local content with Iowa Core Curriculum Essential Concepts and Skill Sets in Literacy, Mathematical, 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
  • Complete initial analysis of alignment of content, instruction, assessment, and steps to address gaps
  • Due July 1, 2012, for grades 9-12
  • Due July 1, 2014, for grades k-8

Iowa Core Curriculum: Characteristics of Effective Instruction

What are the Characteristic of Effective Instruction? START

  • S-Student-Centered Classrooms-Students construct their own knowledge based on experiential, holistic, authentic, and challenging experiences.
  • T-Teaching for Understanding-Leading students to engage in a variety of thought-provoking activities such as explaining, finding evidence and examples, generalizing, applying, making analogies, and representing the topic in new ways.
  • A-Assessment for Learning (Formative Assessment)-A process used by teachers and students as part of instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students' achievement of core content.
  • R-Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum-A relevant curriculum requires students to use knowledge to solve complex, real-world problems, and to create works to use in real world situations.
  • T-Teaching for Learning Differences-Requires teachers to understand essential concepts and skills, to identify the contributing factors affecting the desired outcome, and to utilize a variety of methods to teach and reinforce the desired concepts and skills.

21st Century Skills

  • Each Iowa student must graduate with the 21st century skills necessary for a productive and satisfying life in a global knowledge-base environment.
  • 1) The globalization of economics
  • 2) The explosion of scientific and technological knowledge
  • 3) The increasingly international dimensions of these issues we face, (global warming, pandemic diseases)
  • 4) Changing demographics as the major trends that have resulted in future world.

Learning Survival Skills

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving
  2. Collaboration and leadership
  3. Agility and adaptability
  4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  5. Effective oral written communication
  6. Accessing and analyzing information
  7. Curiosity and imagination

Student-Centered Classrooms

  • What is it:
  • Building learning opportunities on a 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 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

  • 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 instuctional 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 sorting and tracking system that keeps student performing at low levels.
  • It is not assessing students and disregarding the data.
  • It is not reactive, nor done in isolation.