Iowa CORE Curriculum

Right Work, Right Time, Right People

"Every student in Iowa deserves an education that helps them succeed in today's technology rich, global economy. The Iowa Core Curriculum delivers that education."

What is Iowa CORE Curriculum?

It is a statewide effort to ensure that all Iowa students learn what is needed to be prepared for success in the 21st century.
Big image

What the Iowa Core Offers Iowa Students:

Their intent is to ensure that all Iowa students have access to challenging and meaningful curriculum that prepares them for success in post secondary education and the emerging global economy.

How will Iowa Students benefit?

The Iowa Core Curriculum:
  • Ensures that students will grasp big ideas through a focus on essential topics.
  • Moves Students beyond superficial knowledge to deep conceptual and procedural knowledge through learning for understanding, problem solving, and inquiry.
  • Provides students opportunities to learn rigorous, robust content through effective instruction.
  • Enhances student engagement by involving students in interesting relevant learning experiences.

What the Iowa Core Curriculum Offers Iowa Educators:

Through the Iowa Core Curriculum, 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.

Iowa Core Curriculum: ALIGNMENT


Curriculum can be divided into three categories: intended, enacted, and assessed curricula
  • 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 )Porter, 2004)


The extent to which and how wel all policy elements (e.g., content, instruction, and assessment) work together to guide instruction and, ultimately, student learning (Webb, 1997).


The direction in which alignment is examined can be broken down into two approaches (Niebling et al., 2008)
  • 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 match within one component (e.g., district benchmark assessments) across multiple levels (e.g., across grade levels).


there are a wide variety of approaches to examining alignment (e.g., Surveys of Enacted Curriculum, Webb methods), 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 (Niebling et al., 2008).
  • 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

When engaging in an examination of alignment in any direction, along any dimension(s), the specificity with which alignment is considered can vary along a continuum. This is referred to by Porter (2002) as "grain size."
  • Course-Grained: Tends to be global or general in nature; "it's in there somewhere."
  • 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 provides a process to facilitate planning an a protocol for meeting the requirements to develop an implementation plan. However, it is much more than one moment in time when the paper work is completed. It is an ongoing process of striving to meet the needs of ALL students by providing them with authentic learning opportunities.

Iowa Core Curriculum: Characteristics of Effective Instruction

To remember the characteristics use the acronym- START.

  • Student-Centered Classrooms
  • Teaching for Understanding:
  • Assessment FOR Learning (Formative Assessment)
  • Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum
  • Teaching for Learner Differences
In the 2007 legislative session, the Iowa legislature established the Iowa 21st century skills framework as:
  • Health Literacy
  • Employability Skills
  • Financial Literacy
  • Technology Literacy
  • Civic Literacy

Student-Centered Classrooms

What it is:
  • Builds learning opportunities on a students' natural curiosity
  • Builds learning opportunities on students' current knowledge
  • Draws on deep understanding of how students learn and students' developmental characteristics to design learning experiences
  • Provides students the opportunity to actively engage in learning skills, knowledge, and concepts
  • creating a climate collaborative learning between the teacher and the learner
  • Includes students in decision-making processes of the classroom
  • Teacher facilitates a variety of learning opportunities- experiential, holistic, authentic, and challenging
  • Students collaborating and sharing resources
  • Curriculum focuses on essential concepts and skill sets
  • Provides 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 instructional 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 student performing at low levels.
  • It is not about assessing students and disregarding the data.
  • It is not reactive, nor done in isolation.

For more information visit...

  2. Or contact Grant Wood AEA
  • (319) 399-6700
  • 1-800-332-8488