Iowa Core Curriculum

By: Alex Davis

What is it?

The Iowa CORE curriculum is not course-based but instead student-based. It is to help students learn deep knowledge through problem solving. It in-bodies Leadership, Community, Schools, Content, Assessment and Instruction.


Curriculum is divided into three main categories: Intended curriculum, Enacted curriculum, and Assessed curriculum.

  • Intended Curriculum: The content target for the enacted curriculum, often captured in content standards or other similar documents
  • Enacted Curriculum: The content actually delievered during instructions in the classroom and other learning settings
  • Assessed Curriculum: The content that is assessed to determine achievement

Alignment and Directionality

Alignment is the extent to which and how well all policy elements work together to guide instruction and, ultimately, student learning.

Directionality is the direction in which alignment is examined can be broken down into two approaches.

-Horizontal Alignment: Degree of match across two components.

-Vertical Alignment: Degree of match within one component.

Dimensions and Level of Analysis

Dimensions are a wide variety of approaches to examining alignment, each of which examine different aspects of alignment relationships. In general, these different aspects can be summarized along three dimensions, regardless of the methods used.

Topical/conceptual knowledge: topics and information that students are suppose to learn.

Cognitive Complexity/Demand: What students are expected to do with the topical/conceptual knowledge.

Emphasis: The extent to which topical/conceptual knowledge with accompanying complexity/demand are addressed by the intended, enacted, or assessed curriculum.

Level of Analysis

When engaging in an examination of alignment in any direction, along any dimensions, the specificity with which alignment is considered can vary along a continuum. This is referred to as "grain size"

Coarse-grained: tends to be global or general in nature; "its in there somewhere"

Fine-grained: Specific, targeted, one-to-one correspondence

Full Implementation

Full Implementation is accomplished when the school or district is able to provide evidence that an ongoing process is in place to ensure that each and every student is learning the Essential Concepts and Skill Sets of the Iowa Core Curriculum.

Legislated Deadlines

Districts 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 ICC essential concepts and skill sets in literacy, Mathematics, Social Studies, and 21st Century skills( Civic literacy, Health literacy, financial literacy, Technology Literacy, Employability skills) and steps to address any gaps

  • Due July 1, 2012, for grades 9-12
  • Due 2013-2014, for grades k-8

Characteristics of Effective Instructions

Student-Centered Classrooms

Teaching for Understanding

Assessment FOR Learning (Formative Assessment)

Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum

Teaching for Learner Differences

Student-Centered Classrooms

  • 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 the teacher and the learner
  • Including students in decision-making processess 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 students to reflect on what and how they learn.

Teaching for Learner Differences

  • 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 students.
  • It is data driven, a collaborative effort, proactive, a seamless continuum of instructional delivery, fluid interactive, and responsive.