State team recommends minor revisions to literacy standards
Literacy Standards Review Team’s report will go to the State Board of Education
Members of a state team charged with reviewing Iowa’s academic standards for literacy completed their work today by recommending minimal revisions based on statewide feedback that signaled strong support for the current standards. The team’s recommendations will go to the State Board of Education for consideration.
The recommendations aim to provide clarity and eliminate redundancy within the standards. For example, the team recommended removing specific text titles and authors throughout the standards based on public feedback that educators saw them as required reading rather than examples. The team also recommended additional resources for teachers and professional learning opportunities to strengthen instruction.
“The public support we saw and the input we received showed us that sweeping changes to Iowa’s literacy standards were not the right path,” said Liz Hansen, a Grinnell-Newburg High School teacher who co-chaired the Literacy Standards Review Team. “The feedback also provided focus as we examined the standards. We considered how to make the standards stronger, more effective, and also how to add support for teachers in the delivery of the standards.”
Iowa’s literacy standards outline learning expectations for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in English-language arts and for literacy in history, social studies, science and other technical subjects.
The Literacy Standards Review Team represents the second phase of an ongoing state process for reviewing Iowa’s academic standards, which also cover science, social studies, mathematics and 21st century skills, such as financial literacy.
The first phase of the standards review process ended in August 2015, with the State Board of Education’s adoption of new science standards. This year, the Department also convened a state team to rewrite Iowa’s social studies standards.
The Literacy Standards Review Team sought public feedback through an online survey as well as public forums, which drew more than 5,000 responses. A majority of comments were in favor of Iowa’s current literacy standards.
Additionally, two focus groups of teachers who met independently of the review team to discuss the standards said they had done extensive work to implement the literacy standards and would not support significant changes. But they also indicated they needed more time and collaboration with other educators to improve implementation of the standards.
The standards review process was prompted by Gov. Branstad’s Executive Order 83, which called for an ongoing review of Iowa’s academic standards, including public comment, to identify areas for improvement. Iowa was the last state in the nation to adopt statewide standards, which outline consistent expectations for what students should know and be able to do.
Recommendations stemming from the review process are directed to the State Board of Education, which has the legal authority to determine the content of Iowa’s academic standards.
For more information about the Literacy Standards Review Team and its recommendations, visit the Literacy Standards Review Team webpage.
For more information about Iowa’s state standards, visit www.iowacore.gov.